Holiday gifts from Bass International

You can't kid me. I know you're not working this week, even if you're reading this while in the office. I'm loafing around, too, and plan on keeping it up until after the first of the year. So spend some time listening to my radio station and playing around with the holiday time killers I found.

Listen to Bass Radio on LaLa

I put together a little over three hours of mostly piano jazz with some other favorites, like Miles Davis. I creatively named the station Straight Ahead Jazz . There are no commercials, and the music plays right from the site, so you don't need a media player.

You also don't need to register with LaLa; if you do, you become eligible for winning an iPod or Zen.

Unfortunately, I'm not eligible for much of anything, including any of the players, because I don't want it to look like I'm promoting the station. I'm doing it for altruistic reasons. Seriously. I love jazz and want to promote it. I'm also enjoying the CD trading on LaLa.

And if you don't like jazz, you can choose from some 400 other stations .

Must-have tool: WinSock XP Fix

Although more than 11,000 people have downloaded it already, I worry that you may have missed a tool you absolutely must have on your PC: WinSock XP Fix.

Some of you may be interested in the whys and wherefores, the technical details of Winsock problems. There's lots to read, especially if you're having trouble falling asleep. Start with an MVP tutorial, then move on to Microsoft's blazingly complicated explanation .

Stop IE7 from being the default

Internet Explorer 7 is annoying. I upgraded, even though I use Maxthon.

But IE7 insists, despite my protests, that it's the only browser I'm going to use when I click a link in my e-mail program. (Yes, I did try resetting it in Internet options, but IE has a mind of its own.)

The argument was settled with PC-Tools.net's SetBrowser , a freebie that just says no to IE -- by way of a Registry setting. You might want to keep a copy on your PC, just in case.

Program updates galore

I just discovered File Hippo , a nifty site that caters to those of us wanting to get the latest versions of our favorite applications. The page is spotless, with just the updated programs (including the version numbers) and one unobtrusive ad.

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Steve Bass

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