Geek Software of the Week: iCast2!

This is an iPhone/iPad app to broadcast to a Streaming Internet Radio Station. A similiar app for Android is: BroadcastMySelf/Pro

iCast 2 – By Imperative Apps Pty Ltd

“iCast is the must have app for the internet broadcaster wanting to take their show on the road. Used by both the seasoned broadcaster and those seeking an entry point into the world of online broadcasting; iCast is popular amongst field correspondents to stream live interviews and is also used in a variety of not so obvious environments such as theme parks to provision live roaming announcers throughout their facilities, auctioneers use it to broadcast auctions to remote bidders and community event hosts stream live over the Internet. Use it stand alone with just your phone, add an external microphone or headset and even plug it into your compatible mixer in the studio, the possibilities are endless.”

Geek Software of the Week: SpecuCheck!

CheckAre your systems properly patched?

SpecuCheck GitHub Site

“SpecuCheck is a Windows utility for checking the state of the software mitigations against CVE-2017-5754 (Meltdown) and hardware mitigations against CVE-2017-5715 (Spectre). It uses two new information classes that were added to the NtQuerySystemInformation API call as part of the recent patches introduced in January 2018 and reports the data as seen by the Windows Kernel.

An official Microsoft Powershell Cmdlet Module now exists as well, which is the recommended and supported way to get this information.

On January 3rd 2018, Intel, AMD and ARM Holdings, as well as a number of OS Vendors reported a series of vulnerabilities that were discovered by Google Project Zero:

Variant 1: bounds check bypass (CVE-2017-5753)
Variant 2: branch target injection (CVE-2017-5715)
Variant 3: rogue data cache load (CVE-2017-5754)

Microsoft released patches for Windows 7 SP1 and higher later that same day. These patches, depending on architecture, OS version, boot settings and a number of hardware-related properties, apply a number of software and hardware mitigations against these issues. The enablement state of these mitigations, their availability, and configuration is stored by the Windows kernel in a number of global variables, and exposed to user-mode callers through an undocumented system call.

SpecuCheck takes advantage of this system call in order to confirm if a system has indeed been patched (non-patched systems will fail the call) and what the status of the mitigations are, which can be used to determine potential performance pitfalls.

Motivation
There was originally a lot of noise, hype, and marketing around thie issue, and not a lot of documentation on how to see if you were affected, and at what performance overhead. SpecuCheck aimed to make that data easily accessible by users and IT departments, to avoid having to use a Windows debugger or reverse engineer the API themselves.

Since then, Microsoft has done great work to expose that data from the kernel-mode in a concise matter, which succintly indicates the kernel’s support and usage of the various mitigating technologies and hardware features, and released a PowerShell CmdLet Module to retrieve that data. SpecuCheck therefore remains only as a research tool and is not recommended — please use the Microsoft-approved PowerShell Module instead.

Installation on Windows
To run SpecuCheck, simply execute it on the command-line:

c:\SpecuCheck.exe

Which will result in an informational screen indicating which features/mitigations are enabled. If you see the text:

Your system either does not have the appropriate patch, or it may not support the information class required

This indicates that your system is not currently patched to mitigate against these vulnerabilities.

References
If you would like to know more about my research or work, I invite you check out my blog at http://www.alex-ionescu.com as well as my training & consulting company, Winsider Seminars & Solutions Inc., at http://www.windows-internals.com.

You should also definitely read the incredibly informative Project Zero Post.

Finally, for additional information on the appropriate and required Windows patches, please read the Microsoft Advisory.

Caveats
SpecuCheck relies on undocumented system calls and information classes which are subject to change. Additionally, SpecuCheck only returns the information that the Windows Kernel is storing about the state of the mitigations and hardware features — based on policy settings (registry, boot parameters) or other compatibility flags, the Windows Kernel’s state may not match the true hardware state. The goal of this tool is to give you a Windows-specific assessment, not a hardware assessment that is OS-agnostic.

SpecuCheck is only a research tool and is not recommended for general use — please use the Microsoft-approved PowerShell Module instead.”

Geek Software of the Week: Unchecky!

Stand up for your right NOT to infected with Malware!

Unchecky

“Tired of unchecking unrelated offers while installing software?

Have you ever felt, while installing software, that the installer tries to push additional unwanted programs at all cost? Ever missed a checkbox, and spent hours afterwards removing adware? Ever opened your browser after an installation, only to find out that you have a new homepage, a new search engine, or even a new browser?

Unchecky aims to keep potentially unwanted programs out of your computer!”

Geek Software of the Week: Handy File Tool!

This is a very handy piece of software to have for managing files and file contents!

Handy File Tool

Handy File Tool“Handy File Tool benefits:

  • 100% freeware program without any adware and spyware
  • Contains integrated file tools like Finder, Renamer, Replacer
  • Multi-string search-and-replace. It can Find strings in files and replace their to anything
  • Allows to operate with files from different folders and drives
  • Quickly safely and simply operates with files
  • Easy to use intuitive interface

Handy File Tool (HFT) is a very fast and simple file manager. It has some internal utilities such as Renamer, Replacer and Finder. HFT has utilities necessary for webmasters, programmers and anybody who is concerned with computers. Imagine that you need to process hundreds of files. It would take you many hours to do this manually.

With HFT you can solve these problems with one mouse click. You can even process files from several directories or even disks simultaneously, using Basket a clipboard for files.

HFT has two-panel interface calls to mind the popular Norton Commander, but here you have the Basket, a clipboard for files. You can even process files from several directories or even disks simultaneously (see Basket drive in the help menu of the program).

The suite’s main tools, Finder, Replacer, and Renamer, help you make quick work of file searching, text replacement, and bulk renaming across a range of file formats and attributes.

Main features
Browse and manage files and folders
Copy files and folders
Move files and folders
Create new folders
Delete files and folders
Find files by file mask or files date
Rename files in several folders simultaneously
Replace text blocks in list of files in several folders simultaneously
Replace several strings in list of files in several folders simultaneously
Easy to use intuitive interface
True freeware program without any adware and spyware

System Requirements
64 MB RAM or more
2.09 MB of hard disk space

Supported Systems:
Windows 7
Windows Vista
Windows XP
Windows Server 2008
Windows Server 2003
Windows 2000

Download Information
Handy File Tool is a freeware program. This is full functionality program without any restrictions. If you have a problem or question, free support is always available.

If you are looking for a simple, fast, powerful and flexible file manager with additional tools for your business or for your personal needs on a single computer or in a networking environment, you have just found it. Download the freeware Handy File Tool and see for yourself.”

Geek Software of the Week: BOOTICE!

This free software is written by a guy from China, and may be a bit scary to download and use, but it works great! It saved a USB drive that was left in a weird state by my shenanigans! I like it! It is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

BOOTICE – Modify, Backup, And Restore Master Boot Record & Partition Boot Record

AddictiveTips – By: Usman Javaid – “BOOTICE is a portable utility developed for power users who need to either modify or backup and restore MBR (Master Boot Record) and PBR (Partition Boot Record) of local drives or removable media including external hard drives, USB drives, etc. For those who don’t have clue of these boot records, MBR is generally referred to as first sector (size : 512 bytes) of any partitioned drive whereas volume or partition boot record holds code to initiate booting and is invoked by MBR.Hard Drive

Warning for beginners: It is not advisable to fiddle around with master boot record or with volume boot record, as it can change system booting process and can leave your PC unbootable. We will recommend that you use BOOTICE with removable media and not with auxiliary storage disks.

Coming back to features, it lets you backup MBR of selected drives (primary or external) and enables you to create disk images (IMG & IMA format), fill up disk space with random data, manage partitions while allowing you to edit Boot Configuration Data (BCD file) to tweak with system booting process.

It supports multiple boot record types ranging from Windows NT 5/6, Plop Boot Manager, SYS Linux, to Grub4Dos. On the main interface, it displays all attached external storages along with primary disk. Underneath it, you have options to process MBR & PBR, to bring up partition manager and check out disk data sector-wise. Process MBR and Process PBR buttons let users backup and restore the boot record. Before starting out, you need to choose the boot record type to begin the process. The backup is created in BIN format. It’s must be noted here that before restoring boot record, you will need to specify the correct boot type with which boot record backup was created.

As mentioned beforehand, it is capable of processing disk images in IMG or IMA format, you can select the disk image file to backup its master boot record & volume boot record and view the data distribution in sectors. Depending on the OS type, it can bring up BCD file editor with relative options to change booting process. Under BCD Edit tab, BCD file can be specified manually or you can let it find out the location of currently active OS BCD file.

Random data filling makes data on selected disk unrecoverable. With its Disk filling feature you can fill selected disk with 0x00, 0xFF or with custom data in snap to ensure data safety.

We found BOOTICE to be very useful. Since it is a portable application, you can carry it anywhere to modify and backup MBR and PBR of almost all types of disks. With other complementary options like BCD editing and data filling, booting behavior can be altered on the fly without having to search for BCD file while you can destroy disc data by filling random junk to prevent recovery operations. It supports Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.”

Download from the Chinese Site: iPauly (Use Google Translate to read the site.)

Geek Software of the Week: Etcher!

This is a very cool Open Source tool for setting up a bootable USB stick from .ISO files! Available for 32 and 64 bit Windows, Mac, and Linux!

Etcher – USB Tool for Setting Up Boot Drives

“Burn images to SD cards and USB drives, safely and easily.

Validated Burning
No more writing images on corrupted cards and wondering why your device isn’t booting.

Hard Drive Friendly
Makes drive selection obvious to avoid wiping your entire hard-drive

Beautiful Interface
Who said burning SD cards has to be an eyesore.

Open Source
Made with JS, HTML, node.js and Electron. Dive in and contribute!

Cross Platform
Works for everyone, no more complicated install instructions.

More on the way
50% faster burns, simultaneous writing for multiple drives.”

Geek Software of the Week: Remix OS!

Remix OSDo you want to “revive” an old PC and turn it into an Android software running powerhouse? Try Remix OS!

From the Remix OS Web Site:

“Remix OS for PC allows you to run our PC optimized version of Android on any computer. Through a simple and quick setup process, enjoy millions of Android apps and games on your PC alongside the many intuitive and amazing PC features we’ve engineered into Remix OS.

Remix OS began as a vision for a world in which the boundaries between mobile and PC would forever be eliminated. Join the millions of users who have already switched to Remix OS and become a part of the future of Android PC.

Remix OS gives you access to over 2+ million Android apps and games. Most are free and can be installed with a single click from any Android app store of your choice.

A key advantage to Remix OS’ Android app ecosystem is the flexibility to choose the apps that best fit your habits and preferences.

Think of Remix OS as the love-child between an intuitive PC desktop experience and Android apps + games. The multitude of features we’ve meticulously engineered into Remix OS are designed to bring you the best of both worlds – a complete fusion of mobile and PC.

Through our game-changing Remix OS for PC, you can experience Remix OS for yourself on your PC. The setup process is 3 quick and easy steps. Oh right, did we mention it was free?”

Geek Software of the Week: KeepVid!

I bought the paid, downloadable version of this software…. for reals! It is VERY, VERY impressive! If you need something like this, I HIGHLY recommend it! They live up to their tagline: “KeepVid – The Best Free Online Video Downloader!”

KeepVid

“KeepVid Video Downloader is a free web application that allows you to download videos from sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitch.Tv, Vimeo, Dailymotion and many more. All you need is the URL of the page that has the video you want to download. Enter it in the textbox on the web site and simply click ‘Download.’ KeepVid will then fetch download links in all possible formats that the particular site provides.”

Geek Software of the Week: Winstep Nexus!

Winstep Nexus

Winstep says of it self that it is “The Advanced Docking System for Windows.” Check out this description from their web site:

“Wikipedia defines a dock as a user interface feature of a number of operating systems that typically provides a user with a way of launching and switching between applications.

The Winstep Nexus Dock is a FREE professional dock for Windows. With Nexus, your most frequently used applications are only a mouse click away – and Nexus turns working with your computer into a fun and exciting experience.

Nexus Ultimate is an enhanced version of the free-to-use Nexus dock which is available stand-alone or as a component of Winstep Xtreme (a single easy-to-install package featuring all of Winstep’s popular desktop enhancement products for Windows).”

Geek Software of the Week: ScreenToGIF!

ScreenToGIFThis tool allows you to record a selected area of your screen and save it as a Gif.

ScreenToGIF

Features:

  • Record your screen and save directly to a gif looped animation or a video.
  • Pause and continue to record or start over by discard the recording.
  • Move the window around to record what you want, it stays on top.
  • You can add Text, Subtitles, Title Frames, Borders, Watermarks, Drawings, etc.
  • Crop and Resize.
  • Remove frames that you don’t want.
  • Select a folder to save the file automatically or select one before encoding.
  • Add the system cursor to your recording.
  • Very small sized and portable executable.
  • Requires .Net Framework 4.6.1. Download Net 4.6.1 here.
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