Thursday, September 27, 2007

Software: Spybot-Search & Destroy v1.5

Spybot-Search & Destroy (SB-S&D) was once one of the best main free spyware tools available, but in recent years has fallen behind its commercial competition like WebRoot's Spy Sweeper, and others. For the last year or more SB-S&D v1.4 was the latest revision of the product.

Well, I am glad to announce they have finally released v1.5. Some of the new features of the software include:
  • Improved detection mechanisms
  • Improved operating system support (Windows 95 through Vista)
  • Improved browser immunization support.
  • And more, see the site for all the information.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Review: Security Suite Smackdown 2008

PC Magazine reports: "You can tell it's autumn. The leaves are turning colors, the sun is lower in the sky, there's a chill in the air…and the brand new security suites are out. Every year brings a flood of new versions looking to occupy those new Christmas PCs. And since they're all on a yearly subscription model, every year they have a chance to convince you to jump ship from your current suite and try theirs instead."

I consider myself a big promoter of computer security, and I have posted several articles on how to protect yourself and your data when you're online. System security suites from companies like: Symantec, Kaspersky, Panda, and others are some of the best available options for protecting your computer and its data.

Having a simple firewall and anti-virus software is not good enough these days. You need a good two-way firewall, with anti-virus/spyware protection.

These suites also now come with a lot of additional features like: SPAM and phishing filters, parental controls, system tune-up modules and more.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

IBM Lotus Symphony Beta (Reviewed)

PC Magazine reports: "If you've been considering as a free alternative to Microsoft Office, consider IBM Lotus Symphony instead. Lotus Symphony, downloadable in a free beta version, consists of the engines for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations, but comes dressed in a sleek, professional interface that looks far better than the ugly and amateurish one of the original OpenOffice. Compared with Microsoft's high-priced spread in Office 2007, IBM's freeware feels slightly bug-rich and feature-thin, but the price is right at zero dollars"

PC Magazine reviewed the latest edition of IBM's Lotus Symphony (Beta), and about the only positive thing they said about it was its free. Read the article for the whole review.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Windows Vista: More then 3GB of RAM

If you have 3GB of RAM or less installed on your computer and you're running the x86 (i.e. 32-bit) version of Windows Vista or XP, then you will be able to utilize all of your computer's memory. Although if your system has 4GB or more of RAM, then you might only be able to access the first 3.2-3.5 GB of your computer's memory.

This is primarily due to a limitation of the x86 32-bit architecture. 4GB of RAM is the maximum size of addressable memory that the x86 version of Windows XP or Vista can utilize. Only a little over 3GB is available for use by the operating system or applications. The remaining part of the 4GB of memory is used by your hardware (such as your graphics card) and software for doing memory-mapped I/O (MMIO) access.

In 32-bit operating systems such as the x86 version of Vista the MMIO space must reside within the first 4GB of memory address space. To overcome this limitation you need to have a x64 (64-bit) Intel or AMD CPU and motherboard. Then you need to install the x64 version of Vista (or XP).

If you want to learn more about this subject, read the following article called "Memory Limits for Windows Releases". It discusses the current memory limits for the different operating systems that Microsoft has created (such as: Windows XP, Vista, 2003 Server, 2008 Server, etc.).

Friday, September 21, 2007

Ezine 130 Windows Vista SP1 Beta Detailed account

Computer Performance reports: "If you fast-forward to 2015, and then look-back; I bet that Vista's SP1 will be hailed as a classic example of waiting until the first service pack before deploying an operating system. Thus if you have not deployed Vista, then wait until next spring and expect a smooth migration from XP."

This is probably the best article that I have read about Windows Vista SP1. The article includes information on some of the new features, bug fixes, and other enhancements that will be included in this service pack.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The True Cost of Printer Ink

PC Magazine reports: "The price tag on any given printer really tells only half the story. Many times the cheapest printer for sale isn't necessarily the cheapest printer to own. And what's the most affordable printer for you in particular? Depending on how many pages you print and how much it costs to print each page, a high-priced printer with expensive cartridges could be a lot cheaper to own in the long run than a less-expensive printer with low-cost cartridges. Coming up with that long-run cost for comparison isn't always easy, but that is exactly what we did recently in PC Magazine Labs with some of the leading printers on the market. And the results were surprising."

The one thing I hate about printers is the cost of the consumables (such as the ink). I remember a few years ago buying an inexpensive Ink Jet printer for around $70. Then once the ink cartridges ran out I found why the printer was so cheap. The new ink cartridges were $70.

This article provides good background on the true cost of printer consumables.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Internet: Google Presentations gets the green light

CNET reports: "Google announced the launch on Monday night of its long-awaited, Web-based competitor to PowerPoint. Google Presentations, which is free, is part of the company's online office suite, Google Docs."

Presentations has some similar but limited functionality when compared to Microsoft's PowerPoint to create basic presentations. Although it lacks more sophisticated features that people have come to expect from a program like this.

If you need to create a simple presentation and want to post it on the web this might be a great way to go for you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

KDE 4: The Shiny New Linux (and Windows) Desktop

ExtremeTech reports: "Linux users are as evangelical about desktop environments, the all-encompassing graphical user interface software responsible for providing everything from taskbars to office suites, as they are about operating systems. It shouldn't come as any surprise, then, that the first major release in over five years of the most popular desktop environment available is causing quite a stir. Due to be released on December 11th, KDE 4.0 is bringing exhilarating graphical, usability, and functionality improvements to the Unix-like systems it is designed for—and Windows users will get a taste, too."

If you love the KDE desktop, but use Windows this is great news for you. Or, you could be someone who's wanted to try KDE for years but not willing to make the time investment to setup a Linux system. Personally I think this is great news for Linux and Windows users.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Software: Extras for Windows Media Player

Want to enhance the look, feel and functionality of Windows Media Player. Check out this site from Microsoft that allows you to download skins (customizes the look), visualizations (visual effects), and plug-ins (adds new features) for this program.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Why Pirate? Microsoft Offers $60 Office to Students

PC Magazine reports: "Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled a $60 Web-based version of its new Microsoft Office Ultimate suite of applications that will be exclusively available to college students. ... Students with a valid e-mail address from their university will be able to download Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 for $60 via the Web. The offering includes Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook, Access, Publisher, OneNote, Groove and InfoPath."

This is an awesome deal if you're a student. Although this offer is not available forever it expires April 30, 2008.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Software: Google Earth (Hidden Flight Simulator)

Did you know that the latest version of Google Earth (free satellite mapping software) has a built-in flight simulator. Here is a short tutorial on how to use this new feature.

To use the new flight simulator, follow the instructions below:
  • Download the latest version of Google Earth
  • Launch the program and press CTRL+ALT+A
  • In the option dialog box select your plane (F16 or SR22) and the airport.
  • Use can use the arrow keys steer the aircraft, or use the mouse by clicking the screen.
Note: The controls are very sensitive.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Microsoft Streets & Trips 2008 ('Connected Services' Version)

Microsoft 'Streets & Trips 2008 with Connected Services' combines a GPS Locator and an MSN Direct Receiver. The MSN Direct Receiver provides updated traffic and gas updates without an Internet connection.

The software package also includes a one year subscription to MSN Direct which is required for the traffic updates and gas prices.

The retail price for the software/hardware is $180.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Windows Vista: Hardware Compatibility List

One of the biggest issues that a user can face when upgrading to Windows Vista is finding a driver for an existing piece of hardware (i.e.: printers, NICs, camera, etc.) that they own. When Vista was first released in January, hardware manufactures were slow to make driver updates available. Now that Vista has been around for a while, more and more drivers are becoming available.

To find out if your computer or peripherals is compatible with Windows Vista Microsoft has released the 'Hardware Compatibility List' (HCL). The HCL shows all the hardware that has been tested and reviewed by Microsoft for Windows Vista.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Buying Guide: Desktops and Laptops

PC Magazine reports: "Every year brings us something new and innovative in the desktop and laptop market, and this year is no different. New components, new technology, and even a new OS from Microsoft have hit the store shelves. But when it comes to choosing a system from such a dazzling array, many people find it daunting, if not overwhelming. That's where we come in. We have sifted through, tested, and reviewed the hottest systems out there. Whether you're a travel-weary road warrior, cramped-apartment dweller, ultimate bargain hunter, business pro, or something else entirely, we tell you what to look for in your ideal system and give you our best picks. So sit back, relax, and find your perfect fit."

Looking for some buying advice on buy a new desktop or laptop, then check out this PC Magazine article.