Month: October 2016

Showcase: Squirrels AirParrot 2

Showcase: Squirrels AirParrot 2

While multi-monitor PC setups are much more common place today, than ten to fifteen years ago, there are still occasions where you need to mirror your desktop/apps/presentations to other screens. Many times these situations also involve technology layouts, which do not have additional screens attached to the host machine or are at various resolutions that do not show the content in the proper aspect ratios between displays. This also functions as a cost-savings solution, if additional display hardware is out of the question, in both price and space consideration.

In my time as a computer Tier-II field technician, I have been in situations, where I needed to have my screen be transmitted to a second computer for diagnostic purposes and/or teaching my fellow tech trainees. If I had become aware that a budget-minded program existed, and it had companion reception programs that worked seamlessly with minimal fuss; I would have sought it out, and obtained it. What would me search have turned up? The answer is the excellent screen transmitting program from Squirrels, called AirParrot 2.airparrot-2-grey-g2-side-2

In my disabled state, as a hobbyist blogger/advocate for my community, my potential usages for this program has changed from my technician days, it still serves a vital purpose for me, and my blog, and even my family. You may ask, what sort of real-world application I could offer you to highlight this new usage of this program to make it worth the price of the program.  My answer is my ability to screen share streaming video services between my wife and myself, so we can watch programs together, even if we are not sitting next to each other.

My wife and I enjoy watching shows, such as Fargo on Hulu, and many times I am on my desktop, and she is working on her laptop. In these situations, we want to connect over a mutually-loved program and bond, yet we have to keep to using headphones (we can be night owls, so we do not want to disturb our neighbors), and in our room/work area we do not have space to work side-by-side. Having AirParrot 2 (the transmitting program that I have installed on my machine) and the companion receiver program, Reflector 2, that takes the source signal and displays this on the second machine/screen (fear not, I will review this program separately, and highlight some of its unique features then).

airparrot_2_popup_menuIn the aforementioned scenario, I can tweak the settings to make sure that the streamed video signal, over WI-FI runs smoothly and clearly Since my wife’s laptop is not nearly as powerful as my desktop tower, so I tend to set the video to run at 720p, with medium to lower quality to make it smooth and run full screen on the destination machine. This is very effective for video streaming, via the web interface, rather than the dedicated applet in Windows.

Besides this usage, you can just stream audio feeds, if you need to only share what is being heard from a video/app or a dedicated audio feed. You can also just share a specified app/program, rather than the entire desktop, if you choose to do so. Bottom line, this program is very versatile and easy to use program, and works well by itself or with its companion apps and programs.

You may ask what does this program cost, and the answer is a very, nice $12.99 USD, and that is for a single-license on either Mac or Windows. If you need more than one device/computer, they have the 5-Pack, which works on both PC and Mac, and costs $60.00 USD. In my opinion this is the best value, as this allows you use the license(s) back and forth on various platforms, and save 8% over the single-user license cost/unit. If you might need to use this program in a commercial environment or educational setting, they offer pricing quotes, especially if you will need twenty or more licenses for these purposes. No matter which level you pick, you can rest assured that you will be satisfied and very happy with your purchases. If you stop by and check them out, tell them I sent you, and that you are interested in snagging this program. As always, until next time, keep on techin’. . .airparrot-2-grey-g2-side

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Incomedia WebSite X5 Evolution 13 Review

Incomedia WebSite X5 Evolution 13 Review

A few months back, I brought to your attention the nice, development-ready platform, Incomedia WebSite X5 Evolution 12, and with the programs stable of site design tools, layouts, and templates. Fast forward to this month (October 2016), and you have the updated release of this fine suite, entitled WebSite X5 Evolution 13. Included with this update, is a bevy of new templates, stock images, graphic libraries, eCommerce site tools, social media buttons/applets, and so much more. You may wonder do these new features warrant the upgrade price. Let’s go through the process, and see what is on offer, and what is best for each type of user.websitex5_800px

If you are someone, like myself, and have your own blog site, having the new tools, such as a large stock royalty-free image library (now numbering at 700,000 images), is a blessing, as I can use the images to augment my posts, with demonstration images, along with the licensed images of the products that I review. I do not have a budget to purchase images/logos/design vector images, as a hobbyist blogger, but now I can choose from the built-in libraries to find what I need for future posts.

pro_en_xlAnother element of this update is enhanced eCommerce tools, with strong-level integration with payment processing gateways that work with your online storefront, which allows you to take a nice range of credit cards that you can accept. I do not have a need of this type of site tools, but my wife does run an online store, where she sells her artwork and hopefully, someday her books and instructional materials. I plan to introduce these, new financial purchasing tools to her, so she can incorporate this into her payment structure, to help cut out the “middleman” and reduce her cost overhead in processing fees.

incomedia-website-x5-product-specificationsMy blog audience and exposure is intrinsically tied to my social media profile. I have been able to contact numerous companies, their representatives, and vested individuals, who want to support my cause of raising awareness for the disabled and technology. One day that I do that, on a day-to-day basis is my contacting companies, through e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other media outlets. On top of that, I enter numerous contests with many groups, and disseminate those promotional activities, through these social channels, so you, my readers can take advantage of these along with me.

If, and when I can move to a dedicate domain site, I hope to add these built-in plugins and social buttons from Incomedia’s WebSite X5 13. I want to do this to streamline this process, and make it possible for you interface directly with me, on my site, auto re-post my content to multiple social media channels, and maybe have future giveaways with these features, down the line. Having an integrated social media system will make my portfolio of content much more cohesive entity, and centralized that is currently capable.

incomedia_website_x5_logo_redI could go on and on, in hashing out the new features, but the best service that I can do for you is to tell you the three tiers that this software come in, and their price points. The starting tier is WebSite X5 Start 13, which includes 25 pages to make/manage, 50 templates, and the ability to make sites for desktop computers. This only cost $19.99 USD; nice budget-conscious price point that allows you to utilize this software much more than what a trial can offer you. The next tier is WebSite X5 Evolution 13, which is what I need for my projects/sites, and the one I recommend for the majority of people, who need web page design software. The cost of this is $79.00 USD, and has many, many more features, templates, pages to manage, and the ability to offer online storefronts. The top-tier of this product family is WebSite X5 13 Professional that has all of the aforementioned features, options, and a full-featured eCommerce suite that supports storefronts, payment systems, registration of users, and an inventory system, second to none. These wide –ranging feature set comes at a higher price than the other tiers, but considering what you get for the price (being able to use a license on up to two machines) the cost of $199.00 USD is a great buy!

logo_800px-blackIf you have ever had the pleasure to interact with Incomedia, whether as a customer, a potential customer, or someone who has some questions to make a decision or solve an issue, you know they stand behind what they publish/sell. This should give you peace of mind, in deciding to either upgrade to the new version/tier or become a new customer for the first time. Whatever you choose, I can tell you that you will never be disappointed that you considered Incomedia, and their products. As always keep on techin’. . .

Dragon Blogger PS4 Pro & Goodie Bag Giveaway

Dragon Blogger Technology and Entertainment has partnered with Togoo TechJaypee Online, Kworld and Hamswan to bring you a PlayStation 4 Pro Giveaway which includes an accessory pack including Kworld Gaming Earbuds and the Hamswan 2.4 GHz Wireless Gaming Headset.

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One winner will receive the PlayStation 4 PRO with 1TB hard drive and this is the newer PlayStation 4 Pro that releases on November 10th 2016, not the original PS4.  This PS4 PRO has a more powerful GPU as well as faster GDDR RAM and is better able to support PlayStation VR games if you add a PlayStation VR later.  This giveaway is open internationally with some conditions so see the official rules on the Dragon Blogger Giveaway page for more information on International rules for the giveaway.

Enter Now For Your Chance to Win a PlayStation 4 PRO

PlayStation 4 Pro and Goodie Pack Giveaway

Product Review: Steganos Privacy Suite 18 In-Depth

Product Review: Steganos Privacy Suite 18 In-Depth

A constant theme and topic of discussion is the arena of Internet security, and its impact and reach in 21st. Century society. Ever since the dawning of this new century, and the advent of global terrorism attacks, the question of intelligence gathering has become the forefront focal point law enforcement, and the importance it plays in prevention of such vile attacks. While it is a vital component to investigation techniques to gather electronic intelligence, the risk/reward balance of intruding on innocent citizens and foreign nationals means that personal vigilance and self-policing should be the correct approach to this problem. As we wrestle with the best ways to navigate through this ethical maze, each of us must undertake a sense of personal vigilance and vanguard to safeguard our personal information and vital identity documents, for ourselves.

A recent changing of the guard has occurred, as the control of the U.S. Internet DNS registry passed from the Federal government to the ICANN organization (a multi-national organization that works across borders, companies, and governments, to establish web standards, DNS indices, and support WC3 committee); a twenty year process that was just completed last week. While uses of the web will see little, surface changes in their day-to-day life; having a decentralized governing body might make a more fluid level of privacy oversight and protection. Such developments make it a greater concern that one must “mind there, own store,” and keep prying eyes and ears away from your sensitive data. What is something that you can do to accomplish this task, you may ask. The answers can be found in the pages of this blog, and this fine article.

Various tools and apps I have brought forward to you, my readers, over the last, few years, have been in this vein of personal Internet security, and today, I have another fine addition to bring your attention, Steganos Privacy Suite 18. This multitasking suite allows its users to cover their various “digital fingerprints/footprints” in nine tools; each with its focus on how your information interfaces with the wider world, and the global Internet. Each application contained inside of the main program has such specialized usage and systematic layouts that you should find it easy in getting this program configured with minimal effort. Each tool will make sure that what you share on the web is safe, acceptable, and only what you want to share, and not what Big Brother may want you to share online.

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Confidentiality is a rare commodity in these digitally-pervasive times; where the personal, intimate details of a person’s life, property, financial, and occupational records can be raided with easy aplomb. Numerous data hacks, leaks, and DDoS attacks have laid bare individuals and celebrities’ information that has led to identify theft, public shaming/embarrassment, and cost people millions, if not billions of dollars in losses.  What can a person do to protect themselves from such risks? The answer, as you probably guessed from my articles and many other’s is a multi-faceted approach to personal Internet security.

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A piece of the puzzle is the use of a secured data storage area. Having a dedicated area, walled off from general access makes the contents difficult to hack into or access, remotely without express permission. It also has the added benefit of keeping people from snooping on your private data, at the local level, too.  The ease of use that Steganos Privacy Suite 18 provides is very intuitive and easy to establish. All you have to do is choose a location, size, and once generated, set a password to lock/unlock the area, and began to transfer/use the area for sensitive data/information. I cannot stress how important it should be for you to utilize such a storage solution if you want a nice peace of mind, and knowledge that what you put inside this region of your system is secure.

Having a dedicated space for locking down your files is an important step, but that alone is not sufficient to occlude your vital information from nefarious entities. You must also take additional steps, one which includes cryptography of individual files. Steganos has you covered in this area, as well. Their Privacy Suite 18 has a module, called Crypt & Hide, that allows you to add files/folders, and text into a secured, password-protected file. In doing so, you can restrict access to its contents from parties that you do not want to get their hands on it. The uses of such a security measure can be utilized alone and/or in conjunction with other encryption-level applications and certificate exchange services (e.g. OpenPGP).

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As recent news and technology has shown us, on a global scale, being able to encode our files in a secure container format and transmit them across the web, via e-mail, cloud storage, or CDN site hosting; in a manner that cannot be easily eavesdropped on or waylaid in route. Only be encrypting your files, can you add the technological protections needed to maintain a sense of privacy and autonomy. Sending/storing the file unencrypted is just asking for trouble, so do not make that mistake, and use the Crypt & Hide module from Steganos Privacy Suite 18.

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I could elaborate on the several, other modules, but from what you have already seen, I am sure that you will agree that what this security suite has to offer is more than the price of admission. The cost of this fine program is $59.99 USD, and they offer a free 30-day trial, so you can test out the program, and see if it meets your needs. This fine company stands behind what they produce and sell, so you know that your satisfaction will be attended to by these professionals. I know that once you try this great, spectrum-spanning array of security tools, you will only say one thing, “I will take it!”Until next time, keep on techin’. . .

Disconnect VPN – Privacy Pro 1.13 In-Depth Review:

Disconnect VPN – Privacy Pro 1.13 In-Depth Review:

My readership knows how much I treasure privacy and security, with growing concerns that gain strength, with more revelations that governments, corporations, and hacktivist groups are tracking our movements, week after week. This occurs many times, without our express, implicit, permission or legal presidents that justify such surveillance. I highlight companies that help the honest citizen, fight back against such invasive and overreaching practices. One such company that is fighting the good fight is Disconnect, a heralded Virtual Private Network Provider (VPN).

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For those of my readership, who have nominal knowledge and experience with VPN services, I can assure you the process is very hassle-free with Disconnect, and their service platforms (extensions, plugins, apps, etc.). The instructions are very straightforward and require basic software operation skills for PC, tablets, and smartphones. The value proposition inherent in using a service like this is weighed carefully, and once you see the benefits, I am sure that you will find the price point a solid bargain.

disconnect_logoOne, key way of analyzing how this might be helpful to you, and worth the cost can be seen in the gains that you make in data consumption. In looking at the benefits of having ads, tracking protocols, and other data-gobbling data filtered out of your connection, (via VPN) will not only give you peace of mind, but also better speed utilization and greater privacy that using a direct connection to the web. In prior articles that I have written, along with a cacophony of other tech insiders, who have documented and well cited the fact that every piece of data that comes in the down-link can both eat up any caps on monthly transmission limits, but also clog the storage and memory usage of the receiving devices. This is particularly true of mobile smart devices and hotspots, as most provides give you limited and/or throttled data thresholds/month; such devices also have limited storage/memory capacity (usually stated in GB’s).

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On top of this nuisance/menace potentiality, malware has become a greater threat, as the “black hats” have undertaken making phishing/impostors apps that mimic and steal vital information from unsuspecting customers. One way that such nefarious programs get onto devices is through bogus websites/tracking telemetry. With Disconnect protecting you web-enabled computers and mobile devices, this risk is greatly decreased and said sources will have a more difficult time getting to your identity and personal information. With breaches at some of the largest tech companies in the world, where people’s info was stolen with legitimate apps, it is vitally important to make sure the bogus one’s do not get through.

disconnect_scree_capture01 Another excellent benefit of having a VPN is the ability to circumvent Geo-fencing, or the practice of restricting Internet access, based on your location. While in the nation of the United States of America (where I live), we still have a U.S. Constitutional First Amendment that guarantees us freedom of speech, but in many parts of the world, that is not the case. Having access to a VPN allows the user’s of that network service the anonymity to get redacted information and share details of the inner workings of oppressive regimes. A secondary benefit of a Geo-fencing masking IP is the ability to set/show your location as another region on the world, to enjoy content is available to that part of the world, alone. This must be done, under the auspices of acceptable terms of use of any web services one may be subscribed to as a member.disconnect_screen_capture_smartphone01

You may be asking what does a comprehensive VPN service cost to use. The answer may surprise you, as the cost has a range of prices to choose from, starting at Free (Basic – Protect One Browser, Block Trackers, and Search Privately), $40.00 USD (Pro –Block Trackers & Malware across the entire system, with a 44% speed increase in performance, 39% less bandwidth consumption, and longer battery life (if applicable), and $50.00 USD/yr.- 3 Devices (Premium – Pro privacy and performance, secure WI-FI, and full location masking with the VPN). In addition to these levels of coverage, they have a one-time purchase that offers a VPN module for iOS, called Privacy Pro. The cost of this app is $29.99 USD, and grants the user of an iDevice a nice amount of privacy protection and tracking protection, via a VPN configuration plugin for the operating system. All together, each of these work well in conjunction with each other and make a fine addition to one’s security protection plan. All in all, this is a nice company and nice products to help keep your life, data, and online activity, private. Tell them I sent you, and keep on techin’!