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Toolbox: Panda scan is hard to bear

We decided to test the new Panda Security activescan 2.0, a free scan of your PC to find any malicious stuff. It’s found at activescan/index/.

Panda makes a decent spyware stopper tool that costs about $30 a year. We figured this free scan was a marketing tool to sell that product. And that’s what it is.

We ran the free scan, which requires loading an Active X applet. It took a long time – over an hour. And it reported finding more than 4,000 infected files. When we saw that, we thought, “Yikes.”

Turns out all it found on our machine were tracking cookies. We have a hard time believing there were 4,000 of them, so we’re now officially skeptical of this tool’s value.

On the plus side, the Panda scan tells you the name of the offending cookie, which means you can find it and manually remove it. To have all of them removed automatically, you can pay $19 to have Panda do it.

Linkman URL organizer

Anyone who’s an engineer and who collects bookmarks probably is the right candidate for Linkman, a tool that does a nifty job of organizing vast numbers of URLs.

It’s available at, and is free for 30 days, $39 afterward.

It’s compatible with all the major browsers except Safari. Our test found an enormous range of features. One can create intricate trees of organized links. And everything includes tagging, so finding a URL or bookmark is quick and simple.

If you want to try it out, also download the free PDF manual. Which runs like 70 pages, we kid you not.


Lots of folks use the very popular free application Skype for phone calls over the Web, or just for chatting. Skype also has a video option so that people can talk and look at each other during calls. is a competitor that looks like it could dislodge Skype from the videoconferencing game.

Still in beta and still free, ooVoo loads on either Mac or PC and gives you a nifty range of choices for communicating with others. It allows free calls to either cell or landline phones.