Author: Condor-Wingman

ASCOMP Software Backup Maker 7.4 Showcase

Main Window

Backups and archives are a key piece of retaining our digital lifestyle; both professional and personal data chains and items. We keep all of our documents, photos, and records in binary format, instead of pen and paper. One bad electrical overload, physical shock, read/write error, electromagnetic exposure, and you can lose everything. These are real-world risks and can strike without warning. One needs to take steps to mitigate these dangers and ASCOMP Software’s Backup Maker 7.4.

The newest changes to this program include a System Tray notification of the Backup status. This keeps you aware of the status of your backups, the last one completed, successful/unsuccessful, and the date code. You can then start and new backup with a few clicks. This pairs well with the enlarged Main Window for easier readbility.

Also, you can now terminate/end/cancel a backup, if the backup has started before you are ready. This is helpful, as having to resort to using the System Task Manager to force stop the program. This can cause system and software instability, and make backups corrupted. This is not a safe variable to occur.

This software can be purchased in several tiers. The levels are Private (One User, on up to 2 computers), Company (2-5 Users, on 5 computers, and Update (incremental updates, after the initial two years of updates have elapsed, for an additional 2 years). The prices are in order $25.00 USD, $50.00 USD, and $15.00 USD, respectfully. Great prices for a lightweight and extensive backup program. Vhexk them out, and tell them I sent you. Until next time, keep on techin’ . . .

Advertisements

Bolide Movie Creator HD 4.0 Showcase

A while back, I wrote about how a program from the fine folks at Bolide Software had introduced a fine, quality video editor/creator for easy use. They have continued to iterate since that initial review, and they have brought great improvements, and have yet kept the cost quite reasonable. The name of this great piece of technology is Bolide Movie Creator 4.0.

There are many changes that have come to the program. One I like is the ability to convert a video file to an audio file. This would be a great boon to an individual or indie podcaster, that makes/records the podcast episode in video form, and needs to transcode the show to audio for content delivery network (CDN) podcast catchers. I have debated making video reviews or even podcasting down the line, so this would be a great aid in this regard.

Initial Open Window With Timeline 
Effects Window

It has some overhauling of the Effects system, as you can now modify the Start/End of certain Fade transitions. You can now make changes with right-click of the mouse, instead of relying on the keyboard commands alone. The changes are fairly extensive and are varying in their degree differences to prior versions. If you are interested in the full list, check this list here.

Transitions Window

The great thing that is happening at Bolide Software is that they are running a Valentine’s Day Special. You can get this program or one of their others for 30% off. That is off the regular price of $39.95 USD. Either on sale or not, this is a great value, as their competitors run in the near one hundred dollar range (USD). You can purchase it directly from them at this storefront. Until next time, keep on techin’ . . .

Audials AG Audials One 2019 Review

Streaming media is a growing aspect of our entertainment portfolio. We depend on the web to watch our movies, listen to our music, follow our podcasts and connect with the media that we consume. Such connectivity can be convenient, but it has the downside of requiring the person to be online. Many tools have come along to mitigate this issue, but one of the kings of the genre is Audials AG, and their flagship family product Audials One 2019.

Streaming Music Capture Sources

This all-in-one suite supports the recording of many sources, with the highlight being that the music search engine, now has the power of Spotify. This change allows people to search across multiple platforms to find the music they love and then simulcasts the playback for offline playback/recording. This works for both Free Accounts and Premium Accounts alike. Now you can stream from Apple Music, YouTube, Pandora, Google Play Music, and Spotify for your favorite artists, and be able to listen to them away from the Internet-connected device. While I am new to Spotify, the potential for this to make music media creation and library organization a vast improvement, not seen since the advent of iTunes and the iPod.

Video Streaming Services supported by Audials One

While audio is a vital aspect of our online media consumption, the video seems to have trumped its importance. Many of the modern video streaming services allow for offline downloading for certain titles and services, but not all of them. Here is where Audials One comes to the rescue, as it allows you to record the video titles for later viewing, as you watch them. You can set the format you need, and follow the onscreen prompts, and then start your program, and enjoy. This is an excellent tool for all of your media streaming needs.

Podcast Directory

It is of note that this program that allows you to subscribe, stream, and record your podcasts. I have used many podcast clients, and this interface is fairly standard and reminds me Stitcher interface on phones/tablets. As of this juncture, it does not support password-protected podcasts, but I do that is added in the future. This would be able to allow one to listen to many feeds that are behind paywalls.

Online TV Feeds

This program also supports the option to record numerous online tv stations feeds, that are up for grabs. I tend to use my Roku player for many tv feeds, but having a way to do this for my desktop tv viewing is nice. it might be nice to watch my local news and my PC, while I am working.

Media Conversion Window

I have covered many media conversion programs in the past. This program is quite well done, and if you want it for the previous features, you cannot beat the price with this inclusion. This will do both audio and video conversions, and make it compatible with your devices.

In conclusion, I have used this program for over five years, and so I know it well. This version is the best yet, and I know it will only improve, with each iteration. My primary experience is using this for online radio recording feeds, but I have never been disappointed. I know that for around thirty dollars (USD), you can have a very involved, full-featured software suite for online media library and recording software. Until next time, keep on techin’ . . .

Ashampoo Burning Studio 20 & 2018 Edition Review

Ashampoo Burning Studio 20 & 2018 Edition Review

You may recall that I have reviewed the flagship burning suites from Ashampoo, a while back. Now they have released two, updated replacements, entitled Burning Studio 20, and Burning Studio 2019, which is now free (originally $29.99 USD). They make great gifts and would be an excellent gift to give one’s loved ones. Let’s dive and see what they have to offer.

Burning Studio 20 Box Art

Burning Studio 2019 offers you more of the same from prior versions, but it has highlights that stand out from the crowd. One I want to mention is that if you own a late-model of a vehicle, it now supports over 1,600 templates to make some compatible discs for playback on the road. If you want CD-A audio, that displays the metadata of the song that is playing, you cannot go wrong. It even allows you to make discs that have special cases for car radio modes.

One, other feature that I want to highlight is that in today’s world, keeping you data secure and safe is a top priority. Many devices and storage devices allow you to set passwords to keep prying eyes out of your data, but optical media has lagged behind. Now, with this iteration, you can add password-protected dialogs to keep you discs being read by anyone. This is akin to having a password on an archive file (.zip, .rar, and ,7-zip, etc.), and works just as flawlessly. If you have sensitive data, definitely use this to keep them protected.

As for Burning Studio 19, it has the same backbone as the family of the Ashampoo Burning Studio family. It has many features carried forward from previous versions and is a solid product. As this was the previous paid version, it would pay you to try this version out, if you are on the fence for opting for a paid, up-to-date version of this software. In fact, it is a free upgrade, if you are using an older version of the program. You would be hard pressed to find a better product for this price point.

As this year draws to a close, getting close to Christmas, and New Years, many new memories will be made. You owe it to yourself to keep these memories safe and accessible. These are vital and irreplaceable, so back it up, and maybe keep this in mind for this said purpose. Until next time, Merry Christmas, God Bless, and a Happy New Year and keep on techin’ . . .

IClever 15A Smart Plug Product Review

IClever 15A Smart Plug Product Review

The fine folks at iClever have dove headfirst into the world of the Internet of Things. The first product down the line, that I have personal experience with is their excellent Smart Plug. This fine device allows you to control any AC device plugged into this, via your WI-FI network, with their dedicated smartphone app. This fine, reliable device is fairly compact, with the housing only big enough to hold the relay, and the wireless antenna. 

Side view of the sync button

It has a simple button to help you link the plug to your network, and establish the link to both your router and your app for control purposes. It has a nice app, with the ability to label what is connected to the plug, It states on the home screen of the app, the current weather, humidity, and barometric pressure.  It also can pin the connected devices to the home screen for quick operation. You can program the device(s) to have time-sensitive action automation or scenes.

Electricity rating and specs

I use this for controlling my living room floor lamp. It has a stubborn twist knob that is hard to reach and turn from one’s couch or seating. Now, I can just turn the lamp on and off from anywhere in the house, and even set it to turn off at midnight, if I forget to before I go to bed. This has definitely improved the quality of my life. 

Opposite side view

This is a great foothold to start your iClever smart home automation system. This is an excellent company, of which I have a solid, great experience with them and their family of products. The price of this device is $14.99 USD, on Amazon, and worth the money. I cannot recommend this too much, as it delivers. I know that if you try this, it will change your life and you will want more.  As always, keep on techin’ . . .

NETVUE Orb Camera Review

NETVUE Orb Camera Review

In this world of the Internet of Things, the focus has been on home security, and automation to make one’s home one’s castle.  People not only want peace of mind but be in the loop on what is occurring in their domicile. They want to know how their interior is safe, what their pets are up, and how their children are faring. This is a natural desire, and has strong merit.

In days prior, they had to rely on checking in with other family members, neighbors, and possibly on a dedicated security firm that monitors their home. Now, with strides in wireless technology, and the emancipation of the devices that used to require a professional installation and strong, solid contract term, that is hard to break, and with stiff penalties. These changes have allowed the best to rise to the top, and give people excellent choices.

My test model of the NETVUE Orb Camera

A great company, with upward mobility and customer first designs, NETVUE, has made an awesome splash on this stage, and one of their newest products, the NETVUE Orb Camera is a strong example. Marketed as a wireless indoor camera for a baby monitor and for watching pets (which it works quite well), it also serves as a solid indoor security camera. It uses a 2.4Ghz Wireless Band and is controlled/operated by a dedicated NETVUE smartphone app. This device and app work in tandem to create an inclusive ecosystem that supports multiple NETVUE devices into a single interconnected whole.

I got my unit, through Amazon.com, and it retailed for $54.98 USD. It arrived at my home in a short time-frame.  Once I received it, I took it from the packaging material, and gathered together all of the pieces, and started the install. I grabbed the app from my phone app marketplace, first, and then followed the instructions, and added it to my NETVUE account (which I had already set up from before when I was planning my NETVUE device purchase), then added it to my home network. I want to stress that this device, and many like it, only support 2.4GHz wireless band, rather than the newer 5 GHz band found on newer devices, routers, and access points. The reasoning for this is most likely greater operability with legacy devices. Just bear that in mind when you select your IoT devices. I had a few hiccups in getting my camera added to my network, but it can be attributed to light refraction my phone screen in the afternoon light. Either way, if you have issues, they are willing to help you get it worked out, and support you through the whole process.

Wall mounting bracket

This device can be placed on a shelf or wall mounted, to suit your installation needs. Where you place it will be dependent on shelving, room size, and lighting conditions. Speaking of which, this device supports low light/night vision (gray-scale), and as such, it is better to place it in such a way that the device does not get overexposed in light, and has a solid light balance for recording. You also do not want to risk the CCD sensor being damaged with prolonged directed light into the iris.

The access ports on the back of the camera

The device is powered by a Micro-USB AC Outlet, and has support for TF card (Micro-SD Card), for recording storage, so you can both power and retain recorded images. These are industry-standard ports and will work well for many configurations and uses.  I think you will find it fairly intuitive.

In conclusion, this is a solid device on its own, and as part of  larger ecosystem it really shines. I think if you give NETVUE a chance, you will like what you see. It lives up to its promises, and seems to fit a need in many people’s 21st. Century lives. I know that if you try this, you will like it, and wonder why you waited to so long to get on the IoT bandwagon. As always, keep on techin’ . . .

iClever BoostSound Wireless Speaker Review

iClever BoostSound Wireless Speaker Review

In this world of wireless speakers and Bluetooth devices, it is hard to stand out from the crowd. The experts at iClever have produced a fine example of a device that exceeds the tenents of what it takes to stand out. The device, in question, is iClever’s BoostSound Wireless Speaker. Once you hear this for yourselves, you will see what I mean.

Front Facing

This device has a playback life of 10 hrs. approximately (varies on usage, battery health/life, and charge level). With a speaker device that has 20W of power will give you a strong bass performance, in conjunction with mid-range and high performance that makes speech clear and music sing; the BoostSound is top of the class. Such a long battery life will make this great for not only listening to the aforementioned sound types, but it doubles as a great speakerphone, with A2DP support for clear conservations and long duration communications.

Control Button Array

This device not only has sonic playback capabilities but has a blue nightlight. It has three, different light levels for various settings, including sleeping, by being placed near your nightstand to safely see how to check your alarm, ingest food and drink something, or getting up to go somewhere without having to turn on the main lights. This is important, as it will not easily disrupt your sleep cycle. A great bonus for valuable real estate on your desk/nightstand.

You may wonder what this device will run you. The answer is the MSRP of $49.99 USD. This is mainly sold through Amazon’s website for this list price. but it can sometimes be found on sale for less. I know that you will very pleased with your purchase, and it makes a great gift. I know that I will have a one of these under my Christmas Tree for a family member, and I am sure that you will want one, too. Until next time, keep on techin’. . .

TunesKit M4V DRM Converter For Windows Review

TunesKit M4V DRM Converter For Windows Review

In today’s ever-connected world, with our entertainment just a touch away on, our devices, being able to watch anything we own a critical bottleneck. The convergence of various storefronts, services, and platforms has moved the needle towards this future, but gaps still exist. Many purchases from early adopter storefronts, primarily Apple’s iTunes are great purchases, great file quality, features, price points, including a recent wave of fresh 4K upgrades on select video titles (https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/apples-clarification-of-free-4k-upgrade.2078741/), but some titles and studios do know allow this, and certain studios do not allow purchase sharing through a digital locker clearinghouse, such as Movies Anywhere. This might not be a major hassle if you use an Apple device ecosystem (Apple iPhone, iPad, AppleTV, etc.) if you only buy through iTunes. However,  if you use devices and equipment from manufacturers, like Amazon and/or Roku, problems may arise.

I can attest to this being an issue, as a disabled person, with a very limited income budget. Buying movies multiple times, in multiple formats on multiple services is not viable.  To prevent this from being a major issue, I have set up memberships with all of the major services/studios/publishers and made sure they are all linked. This works for many of my movies and tv series published, but not all of them. I have had to just leave my iTunes movies and tv series, within their “wall garden”  and not watch them on my living room tv. I own a non-Apple streaming device, and some of my titles do not participate in the film/tv title sharing, so they only reside in iTunes. There has not been a viable and legal workaround for this impasse, especially with the iTunes application going from a 32-bit software in Windows to a UWP app, with renewed DRM restrictions and protections.

David_Blog2018_TunesKit_M4V_DRM_Converter01

I can announce and attest that this issue has been overcome. The fine folks at TunesKit Software, have created a suite of programs to help manage your smartphone, audio files, and video files. It is in this last category, that we can find the solution that we are seeking.  The program to be highlighted is TunesKit M4V DRM Converter For Windows. This program will allow you to convert your purchased A/V media files to be played on any of your devices, legally.

First, you will need to download, and install the program, and get it setup. In order to make this work,  you will need to allow the program to close iTunes, as it will need to read your iTunes library for conversion process and finalize the process. This will take a varying amount of time, depending on the iTunes library size and density.

David_Blog2018_TunesKit_M4V_DRM_Converter02

Once that is completed, you can then begain to add your library files for the conversion process. Just select the program you want the DRM bypassed, and then it will begain.

David_Blog2018_TunesKit_M4V_DRM_Converter03

This program will play the program in the background, and transcode the file, to what file type and encoding you selected at the onset of the conversion. David_Blog2018_TunesKit_M4V_DRM_Converter04In essence, it will use your valid license to playback the file, and once the expeditied sped-up playbacl/transcode is completed., you will have a DRM-free file. You can now go and add this back to your iTunes library; knowing that it can play with any program, media player, and media device (as long as the said devicessupport the audfio and video codecs that were used to make the file).

You may ask how much does this wonderkund cost you for this freedom? The list price for this program, on TunesKit site lists it as $59.95 USD. However, if you act fast, they are running a Halloween sale, now through November 7, 2018, with it being 20% off, bringing the price down to $34.95 USD. Either way, it is worth the money, as it will save you money on having to rebuy titles over and over again. The best part, is that they offer Lifetime Free Upgrades and stand behind what they sell. Check it out, and tell them I sent you. As always, keep on tech’ . . .

Software Showcase: ASComp Synchredible 5.101

Software Showcase: ASComp Synchredible 5.101

The age of backups and the online hacks is upon us, and as a result, making incremental backups and file syncing has taken on a renewed importance. As I have stated prior, a backup is when you make two copies, outside of the working copy, and place them in, two different areas for redundancy. If you just make a single backup copy, it is an archival copy, but not truly backed up, as you do not have a safety net, as the primary copy can fail/become corrupted. If that happens, and the original fails, you are out of luck. Keeping track of the copies and their various locations can be hassle, if you rely on manual methods, human error can occur, and things left in the lurch the result. A better approach is to utilize an automatic method, so all copies and their corresponding updates are kept current. The marketplace is crowded, but a fine, simplified, yet feature-packed program to handle heralds from ASComp Software, called Synchcredible 5.101.

2568oee

The program has a very standardized GUI, reminiscent of most Win32/Winx64 programs, with a simple button/menu system that is easy to use/operate. A systematic wizard that walks you through the process, with various settings that can be toggled, greets you as you enter the program. You create a task, and name it, without much hassle and the processes are very intuitive. I have a master backup drive, which is an external USB hard drive that has a 4TB capacity. You can elect to have your file/folder syncing to be automated and run on a schedule, without needing to activate it manually. k9hpghFor someone like me, who has my computer function as a gaming rig, blog hub, office machine, and so many more roles, I run this task as a manual process. It is easy adding tasks and running these processes, without complication, and error. It could not be much easier. In fact, the process is quicker, smoother, and less intensive on computer resources, than just using the file copy and paste functions built into the operating system. This program can tell you what has changed, what will be created and/or placed on the destination drive, before any files are synced. This can tell you what will be needed in space and file structure, prior to confirming the action.5eetyp

The very fair starting price point of $25.00 USD is a nice value for a program such as this, and well worth the cost. Not unlike my, other German software firms, they stand by what they sell/create, and their attention to customer’s needs. I know that if you try this program out, along with the other programs on tap there, you will be pleased. Until next time, keep on techin’ . . .

Ashampoo Snap 2018 Showcase

Ashampoo Snap 2018 Showcase

2hmg6s5

Just two months ago, I brought to your attention the top-tier screen capture software utility by the fine folks at Ashampoo, called Snap 10. Today, I can announce that a new 2017 entry-level version, entitled Snap 2018.  This program is still filled with all of the features that you loved from the prior edition, coupled with a couple of improvements, and newfound features in to have at your disposal. If you need to grab images from your screen, this is a fine, basic program to meet that challenge head-on. While I will not rehash what I highlighted before (as you can reference my prior articles on this site), I wanted to showcase some of the newest features, which might resonate with you, my faithful readers.

25jv9g1

Not unlike the full suite of Snap 10, they have added support for 3D Games screen capture. It works very similarly to the version contained in the Snap 10 and is an excellent version for non-professional gamers. If you have ever wanted to capture your exploits and share them with the world, you no longer have any excuse, as this is now in the palms of your hands. This is a way for disabled people to share their passions with the world.2058ff4

The other aspect that I want to highlight, today, is they have added more additional screen capture sizes. The main area of improvement is how they have focused on more fixed window sizes. The importance of that can be found in the renewed focus on 4K gaming and the breakthrough movement of VR. As widescreen, high-resolution gaming has come into its own, within the last decade, and the companion growth of YouTube and/or Twitch.tv streaming. The needs of the aforementioned streamers and audience, requires proper aspect ratio images and videos to embedded elements for their production needs.  Knowing that your capture program will capture them at a fixed window size that will match the source makes the process seamless. In short, a vital key component for 21st Century eSports and gaming viewership.

25a8dwpIf you adore Ashampoo products, you will like this as it continues their fine tradition, for great, free programs. You cannot beat the price, and that is not something that you can deny. As always, keep on techin’ . . .