Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Is your data on cloud backup services secure? None of the popularly used cloud services offer native file encryption facilities. Whatever you upload to these services can be opened and viewed by anyone. If tomorrow that cloud service gets sued for copyright infringement or whatever, they can potentially hand over your data to anyone who comes asking for it.
Monday, May 28, 2012
A ransomware is a type of malware that locks the computer it infects and demands that the owner pay fines for allegedly violating several laws. The notices displayed are purported to be issued by companies or law enforcement agencies which falsely claim that the user's system had been used for illegal activities, or contains illegal content such as pornography and unlawfully obtained software such as pirated edition of Windows. The idea is to scare the user into cough up the money.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
A hand-picked selection of articles published between May 13 and May 26 of previous years.
1 Year Ago
Friday, May 25, 2012
CintaNotes is a portable notes keeping application that provides a convenient way to store snippets of information collected from websites, documents and various other sources. It also acts as a personal notes manager. You can organize your notes by adding tags, search and sort through them easily by date of creation, title, size etc. Previously CintaNotes was available as a commercial product. Last month the developers released a new version and with it moved to the so called “freemium” model, also known as shareware, where basic functionality is offered for free and premium features can be had for a price.
Windows 7 lets you customize the behaviour of the icons that appear on your system tray, also called the notification area. You can configure the icons to remain hidden unless there is notification to display. This reduces the visual clutter on the system tray. The trouble is, Explorer keeps a cache of the icons and over time this cache can grow to hundreds of items. If you right click on the Taskbar and choose “Customize Notification Icon” you can see many obsolete items on the list. Some of these programs you might not even have on your computer anymore.
If you have several Windows computers at home or office, either connected in a network or running standalone, it makes little sense to enable Windows Updates on all of them. All that is required is one computer to download the updates and the same can be installed on all the machines. This saves bandwidth cost. Having the updates in hand also makes it possible to integrate them with Windows installation source using popular tools such as nLite, or automating their installation using scripts.
Max Tabs is an add-on for Firefox that allows users to set the maximum number of tabs that could be opened in any Firefox window. If you are asking “Why?”, the answer is simple: to bring order into tab madness. If you have the habit of forever opening new tabs without closing the ones already open (something that happens to me often when reading Wikipedia articles) you will agree that it’s a good idea to have someone monitoring over you.
For a long time users of the social media website Reddit were tired of available options to share images on the website. The image hosting sites such as Imageshack, Photobucket and Tinypic, although free to use, has strict limits on bandwidth and if the image gets even remotely popular it can quickly exhaust the allocated bandwidth. These sites are also heavily infested with advertisements and forced users into jumping through several hoops just to upload an image. The need for a no-nonsense, user friendly image hosting site was strongly felt and Imgur was born. Today, Imgur is one of the most successful image hosting site on the Internet and it’s closely tied with Reddit.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
To supplement my previous article on extremely portable computers under the price tag of $100, I decided to prepare another list for those who can afford a bit more. The ceiling price for these new breed of little computers, the size of a credit card or a thumb drive, seems to be around the $200 mark, at least for now.
Here are 5 products that you can pick up between $100 and $200.
Over the last few decades, technology in general and computing in particular have developed at a tremendous pace. Computers have shrunk from room sized behemoths to something you can slip into your trouser pocket. Yes, the cell phone is a computer too and with the recent development in state-of-the-art mobile operating system such as Android and iOS, the line dividing computers and cell phones is increasingly becoming blurred.
Search engines collect information from billions of pages out on the internet. Among these there might be pages that carry information about you - your email, your job, your interests, and even personally identifiable information such as your name, your phone number and your address. A surprisingly large number of people share a disturbingly detailed account of their lives with no one in particular on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and dozens of specialized social networking sites. Social networking sites usually offer certain degree of privacy but other sites such as forums and blogs are viewable by anybody and can appear in search results.
The easiest way to find out who is responsible for a particular website is to ask the webmaster himself or herself. Websites usually have a “contact us” or “about us” page on the site or an email address, contact form or any other means of contacting the webmaster directly. Some webmasters will leave their Twitter ID or link to their Twitter page and Facebook page on the website. If you can’t find any information about the website’s owner, there is another way to find out who owns a particular website.
Monday, May 21, 2012
If you use a lot of bookmarklets, you probably have them cramped inside your bookmarks bar. Some users suggest using folders to organize bookmarklets, just like you organize your bookmarks. But if you want to get them out of your bookmarks bar (which serve a totally different purpose) and into the toolbar where they should logically reside, here is nice trick.
Many users pointed out that the classical Aero desktop didn’t blend with the Metro start screen, a “fact” that apparently Microsoft has started to take notice. So last Saturday, over at the Building Windows 8 blog, Microsoft engineers wrote a 10,000 worded post describing why they decided to move away from the Aero desktop, an interface that became wildly popular when it made its appearance in Windows Vista.
Cloud storage services are typically meant to used for online back and to synchronize files across all multiple devices a user owns. But Wappwolf Automator permits us to use our cloud storage accounts for another purpose – to automatically process files and reupload or sync them to various other web services such as Flickr, Evernote and so on. Wappwolf currently works with Dropbox and Google Drive, and supports for SkyDrive and Box is expected to arrive soon.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
A hand-picked selection of articles published between April 29 and May 12 of previous years.
1 Year Ago
Antivirus software vendor ESET has just released a new malware scanner designed to detect and remove different types of rogue applications from your computer. Rogue applications are those programs that are malicious in nature but pretend to be harmless or even useful, such as fake anti virus programs (that deceives unsuspecting users into paying for fake or simulated removal of malware), and scareware (software products that produce frivolous and alarming warnings or threat notices for fictitious or useless commercial firewall and registry cleaner software).
Friday, May 18, 2012
Ever wanted to play Pac Man with a pencil drawn controller or play the piano with bananas? Yes, you can, thanks to Makey Makey, a simple circuit board that turns almost any object into a touch based computer key. Currently being funded at KickStarter, it is by far one of the coolest DIY project I have ever seen.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
If you are a space buff, you must have heard of Celestia, a three-dimensional space simulation program that allows users to travel through an extensive universe exploring planets, stars and galaxies. You can zip through space, visit planets, orbit stars and go forward or backward in time. For more than a decade, Celestia was pretty much the only thing we had. Now we have a new entrant – SpaceEngine.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
So you have signed up for half a dozen cloud storage and file synchronization services, because with so much free space being thrown around, it is hard not to. While it’s great to have so many choices, it’s inconvenient to have your files distributed across a number of different cloud services. But not if you can manage all your cloud accounts and access all your files from a single place. Here are 3 free services that lets you do that.
Capturing screenshots is easy – there is already a dedicated key on your keyboard for this purpose. Then, there are plenty of screen capture programs that automatically saves captured images, or loads them on an image editor for editing. But screen capturing programs only grabs the visible region of the screen. If the page is too large to be displayed in full on your monitor than the task becomes a bit more challenging.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Affiliate programs are very tempting because they offer affiliates an opportunity to earn easy cash just by recommending products to buyers. For the serious marketers, affiliate marketing is big money. But this $3 billion business is hard to get into and regular people don’t have any part in it, aside from being the bottom rung of the ladder - the customer.
Monday, May 14, 2012
Backup Box is an online tool that allows users to connect two Dropbox accounts together and transfer files from one to the other, or connect an FTP server to a Dropbox account and transfer files between the two. Such an arrangement allows users to automatically and periodically backup their website to Dropbox or facilitates easy migration between Dropbox accounts.
Desktop based email programs doesn’t work someone who uses multiple computers. Webmail is great for this purpose but they don’t play along nice with Windows. For example, if you click a mailto link in your browser, it will start your default email program which is Microsoft Outlook or whatever you have installed. Similarly, if you use the built-in email capabilities of software such as Microsoft Word, or Adobe Acrobat, or Windows Explorer you are most likely to end up opening the compose window of your email program.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Box, formerly Box.net, is one of the first cloud storage services of the Internet, launched in early 2005. Box targets enterprise companies with services based around sharing, collaborating, and working with files that are uploaded to Box. Box has a number of features ideal for businesses such as unlimited storage, custom branding, encryption, administrative controls and integrations with applications like Google apps, Gmail, and NetSuite. The service also has a variety of social features such as discussions, groups and an update feed.
Windows Explorer can display preview of certain types of files, such as images, videos, and text, on thumbnails and the preview pane. PDF Preview is a free software that adds this functionality for PDF files.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Need to convert audio files in order to play them in your mobile device? Want to rip an audio CD to your computer? Need to make ringtones from music files? Look no further than these four great utilities.
MP3 Toolkit is a newly launched powerful suite of free music editing tools that allow users to convert between audio formats, rip CD disks, edit tags, cut and merge MP3 files and record MP3 from the mike.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Don’t you hate when you hear the SMS notification tone right in the middle of an engrossing gaming session? Quitting the game to check the message is disruptive, yet you can’t ignore the allure of a new message. Who is it from? What does it say? SMS Flash will answer all your queries while saving you from the trouble of returning back to the home screen.
Monday, May 7, 2012
The Indie game scene has seen a surge in the last few years primarily due to availability of new online distribution methods and social media for publicity. There are probably thousands of indie games developed by now, some of which have gone on to become an Internet phenomenon such as Minecraft. It’s hard to keep track of how many such games are released in a year because of the very nature of Indie games. One way to keep yourself abreast, if you are a fan of these small games, is to follow blogs dedicated to Indie gaming. Another way is to install Tiggit.
After more than three years of development, GIMP 2.8 is finally available for download. The new version brings the long-awaited single-window mode, as well as several improvements like layer grouping, on-canvas text editing, multi-column dock windows, a new set of brushes and many other features.
Friday, May 4, 2012
Firefox allows you to freely shuffle the browser’s buttons and icons added by extensions around on the interface. With the exception of the Menu bar, you can place icons on different toolbars - the Navigation bar, bookmarks bar, the add-on bar (which is specially created for putting all your icons) and even on the far right on the Tab bar. That should be choices enough for the user. But ever fancy putting your icons inside the address bar? Yeah, that is possible too.
There are many ways to create bootable USB drives containing a Live operating system or the setup files of an operating system such as Windows or one of the many variants of Linux. Two of my favorite bootable USB creator are YUMI and UNETBootin. YUMI is particularly interesting because is allows you to load multiple ISO images into the USB drive making it possible to create a multi-boot drive. Both these tools use GRUB as the bootloader. Now if you have a particular dislike for Linux bootloaders, it is pretty much dead end because there is no tool that uses Windows 7 bootloader aside from Microsoft’s Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool that is specifically for creating USB installers for Windows 7 and Windows 8. But now, you have a choice.
Dropbox’s most tempting feature is it’s referral program that gives users the opportunity to increase their storage space by several Gigabytes simply by getting their friends to sign-up and doing odd jobs like connecting their social accounts or uploading pictures from their cameras. Occasionally, Dropbox would improve their referral program, add new tasks or cooperate with other businesses to give more free space. One new opportunity is coming next week.
Lately, the Internet is pretty excited over cloud storage, triggered by the launch of Google Drive and the re-launch of Windows SkyDrive. Comparison between different services became inevitable. While the actual competition is between the giants some smaller players have suddenly found themselves in the limelight, but curiously, no one is talking about Windows Live Mesh. Everybody assumes that with SkyDrive around there is no need for Windows Live Mesh to exist. This is not true. Although SkyDrive and Windows Live Mesh both achieves the same end, they are very different products.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Open source music, video and Internet TV player Miro 5 has just been upgraded to version 5. With this upgrade Miro brings several new features to the already rich media player such as a tool to lookup missing music information and album art, a means to cleanup their music library, download HD videos from Vimeo, faster device synchronization and conversion and support for purchasing music from eMusic.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Last month, a new version of KMPlayer was released and boy, did they change it! The new release is totally unlike any of it’s previous incarnations. Even though the version number is a minor bump from 3.1 to 3.2, it constitutes a major release as it includes several new features such as video and music library, 3D video playback, integration with online streaming services, a spanking new look and soon to be introduced app store.
If you play videos only on your computer, you don’t really need a video converter – most media players today can play almost any video format. But if you want to rip DVDs or Blu-Ray discs to your computer or you have a particularly fussy portable media player or mobile phone such as those manufactured by Apple, you will need one. If you are anything like me, you probably have several. But it’s not enough to have any video converter.
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