Category: iDevice

Tenorshare UltData In-Depth Review

Tenorshare UltData In-Depth Review

Our day-to-day lives depend on mobile technology more and more. Our phones are the epicenter of our data, photos, apps, movies, music, etc. With so much invested in these devices, a reliable and dependable resource management system needs to be in place, so you can get to this critical information when your device is inaccessible and is possibly broken or physically damaged. The recovery options for iOS devices has grown for both Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh Operation System(s), in regards to programs and utilities that accomplish this task for average users.

Of the options available, a highly-rated program has risen through the ranks, Tenorshare’s UltData.

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This fine program has you covered, not matter what issue is preventing you from getting into your iDevice, and its key information. No matter if you have dropped your device, and broke it, hung on the boot-up logo, accidental deletion, and many other issues, it can get it back for you. It accomplishes this in one of three ways: retrieval from you iCloud account, restoring from you iTunes Backup, or even directly from you iDevice. Each has their advantages and uses, and which one you ever choose; you will be pleased with the results.

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As someone, who has an old iPhone 4, from 2010, I can tell you that being able to access critical data that has been invaluable is getting back restored photos and notes, along with app data backups. In having an older device, I have not been able to use iTunes to do backup/syncs, without causing errors and problems. Now having an option to use UltData to get these files either from my device or from iCloud, I can feel a peace of mind, in knowing that my information is not too far out of reach.

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Once you initialize the backup sequence, it is well organized and easy to see what is available for recovery. You can easily see your call history, photos, and texts, in real-time, so you can only restore that stuff you want, and not bring back things you do not need, or no longer require. Whatever you recover from your device, you can take those, and re-sync them back into your device to use them, going forward.

 

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In trying to preserve my digital life, recorded on my iPhone and iPad, which covers my entire married life, having software that will help me use my data to migrate to a set of newer iDevices (which I am hopeful that I can acquire sometimes this year), will make this dicey proposition possible, with a safety net. I use my mobile devices, and their features to keep my life focused and on-track. Any prospects of losing this critical information that I cannot get back is something I want to prevent, and having tools, such as Tenorshare makes is a much less probably outcome.

 

Tenorshare_logoYou may be asking yourself, why I should choose UltData for my iOS device recovery options, over other options on the market. The answer is many reasons (some which I have already cited). One standout that you, my readers may find important and treasure for your peace of mind, is that Tenorshare is an award-winning company, with UltData  winning 2016 Golden Award from TopTenReviews.com. This is a nice, prestigious award to win from a reputable software review site, and further highlights the advantages that this software offers your iOS devices, whether or not your computer runs on Windows or Mac.

The entry cost for this peace of mind and tool-set is very reasonable, and scalable, based upon your needs as an individual, family, or if you have an organization or commercial enterprise that would require vast number of device support numbers. The starting tier is a 1-yr. Subscription, which runs $83.95 USD, and includes a license for one computer, one year support and one year of upgrades. The second tier is the Family Pack, $139.95 USD, and is a license for 2-5 computers, lifetime usage, lifetime support, and lifetime upgrades. The top-tier of licenses is the Unlimited License, which runs $699.95 USD and that is unlimited devices, support, and upgrades, and the best value across the board. If you act right now, they are running a 40% off sale that slashes the prices drastically, but only for a very, short time (the sale ends on 07/11/16). As is usually the case, most software I review has a demo/trial version that you can try, risk-free.

If you have ever had an iDevice that has failed on you, you can be sure that this program can give you the best chance to get your data back. I know that once you try this software, you will be hooked on keeping your data safeguarded with the umbrella of programs from Tenorshare; do not forget to tell them that I sent you. As always, keep on techin’!

Product Review: Squirrels Reflector 2 In-Depth:

Product Review: Squirrels Reflector 2 In-Depth:

In the multi-device connected world, in which we live, we have the need of the usage of tablets, smartphones, and mobile devices, crossing over with our desktops and laptops; all requiring those to display our content in various screens simultaneously. Options to do this, particularly on the Windows PC side, are few and far between, and this is especially the case, if you are operating a non-jail-broken tablet or smartphone that run iOS operating system. I was unsure how to undertake this task, until I discovered Squirrels, and Reflector 2.reflector-2-1

In my travels and tech tasks, I have found myself in needing to show my smart device’s screen, its apps, and even the audio feed. The best way to access these elements strives from the AirPlay wireless standard, created by Apple, which allows each of their modern technology devices communicate with one another seamlessly and without much fuss. When you migrate over to devices not made by Apple and/or do not run on their proprietary operating system, you run into problems. Many manufactures have come onto the marketplace, and now create accessories and products that work for these devices, but the emphasis is on apps and other hardware accessories, rather than making these devices have AirPlay support for Microsoft Windows.

In discovering Squirrel, and their stable of software titles, I have found the solution to this conundrum. The first part I reviewed last time, AirParrot 2, allows you to transmit from one PC to other PC’s or devices. Its companion/counterpart, Reflector 2, allows your PC to receive signals from other PC’s, and for the focus of this piece, iOS screen capture and mirroring.

I want to stress at the onset of this article, the capabilities to receive other PC’s video/audio signals are quite strong and very versatile. I have had the usage of this functionality in several situations, but what I want to share with you/explore with you is how easy it is to link your computer to your smartphone/tablet, and share that synergy to great effect. I know that you will come to see how vital this will be to your digital life, whether or not you have a disability.3

One usage of this screen mirroring can be streaming or watching games on your PC or home theater system, broadcast from your mobile device. I am fortunate that I have a dedicated streaming device for watching media outlets (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, etc.), but many people do not have such a piece of hardware, and having a software solution that natively supports either Android Google Play or Apple AirPlay standards can allow them to accomplish this task. Trying to watch a small screen is fine for being on the go, but if you want to watch things as a group or media that is more easily understood in a larger scale, using a casting protocol or software applet is the way to proceed. I can see value in this great feature.

If you have a need to control the reception of data gathered by Reflector 2, there are a couple of companion apps that allow for remote control for both corporate and educational environments. The apps in question are called, Reflector Director and Reflector Student. Each of these can be used to either allow collaborative learning in corporate settings or between students in the classroom.reflector-2-2

It is quite nice to share your screen, and watch live, in real-time. However, being able to record what is shared is a vital way to dissipate your information and share your presentations in the cloud, via sites such as YouTube. Thankfully, Reflector 2 has such support built-in, where you can broadcast yourself on the stream, and allows you to also show a mirrored device, integrated into your presentation. You can show yourself, move to a mirrored device in your stream, back to you; all while uploading the video to YouTube Live. I have yet to use this, but in the future, I might move to video reviews, instead of typed ones, that I have been using from day one on my blog.

Bottom line, if you need to seamlessly embed your smart device into your desktop/stream casting device, you need this program. This used in conjunction with AirParrot 2, makes a complete ecosystem for broadcasting and receiving smart device into desktop/laptop environments. The nice thing is that this program can be had for as little as $14.99 USD/computer. If you need a multi-user/multi-device license model, those are available as well. I know that if you try this, you will jump and buy this with no hesitation. They offer their software for Windows and Mac, so the two major platforms for desktops/laptops are supported, along with Android and iOS for mobile devices. You owe it to yourself to have this at your disposal. As always, 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’!

Day-of-Release: Ashampoo Slideshow Studio HD 4.0

Day-of-Release: Ashampoo Slideshow Studio HD 4.0

Two generations ago, family and friends might gather around a projector screen, with a slide projector with a slide rotary caddy. They would take these opportunities to recap trips they went on, things they saw, and people they experienced the events with. As been the subject of numerous parodies and skits, people have been subjected to seeing the same scene, over and over again, with off-handed quotes. You typically hear such things as “Here is Gene, on the right!” Now he is on the left!” “You remember the heat that day, Gene?” What do you think, Barbra?” The purpose of these gatherings was to track and chart the milestones of people’s life.

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Today, the technology is different, but the purpose has carried on into day, with computers, mobile device cameras, optical media (DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K-UHD) and streaming video being the media that these memories are recorded onto for preservation. The scope has been expanded to now encompass the avenues of commerce, education, entertainment, and journalism, in addition to the personal recordings of yesteryear. The learning curve of these software programs has varied over the years, coupled with the available feature sets that they each offer. If you get an easy-to-use program, the features might be limited. If you choose a more full-featured program, you tend to find yourself facing a less-friendly GUI/UX that is much less intuitive and systematic.

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I am glad to report to you, today, that a new, more powerful, and full-featured program has debuted today, from those fine folks at Ashampoo, entitled Slideshow Studio HD 4.0. This great program fully carries forward the fine, long-standing tradition that Ashampoo has come to represent; demonstrated by the craftsmanship you find in this and all of their programs. Not only does have the standard functions you would expect from a slideshow program, but the forward-looking embrace 4K Ultra-High-Definition video standard that is bursting on the scene.scr_ashampoo_slideshowstudio_hd4_simplemode_adapt_to_music

This promises of up to 8x the resolution of 1080P video, with support for High-Dynamic Range (HDR) for extreme life-like imagery and natural shadows, mid-range tones, and highlights. As Hollywood has begun taking this file format as the go-to choice for how they capture our blockbusters, and present them to us for home theater consumption, not many home enthusiasts programs offer this functionality, but Slideshow Studio HD 4.0 comes through for you, in this regard.

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Not only does this software program that has these feature-set, included, but it also introduces the addition of 17 new transition effects, not available in prior versions. If the included transitions and effects that come bundled with the program do not meet all of your needs, post-launch, additional templates will be made available, free of charge from their website. I can attest that having an online depository for specialized templates has been a lifesaver, on several occasions, with other software; I am very looking forward to have this resource for this program available to me and to you, my faithful readers.

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As a faithful user of iOS devices for seven years or so, I need tools and software that allows me to enjoy my media and share it with those in my circle, on these devices. While I have yet to make a mobile-enabled slideshow, with Slideshow Studio HD 4.0, has specialized output settings for these devices, so you have full confidence that your final project will work on these devices, with minimal hassle and problems. For those of you that use Android or other operating systems on your mobile devices, they have output device profiles for those pieces of equipment.

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As you may recall my wife has a home-based art business, and she has branched into tutorials and training videos, in addition to her artwork for sale. She has done videos on Periscope, and uploaded some basic time-elapsed videos of her paintings, but having this tool in her arsenal will allow her to create more polished and professional videos in this vein. I can see that she might very well start laying a narration track over her work, and better explain her creative process to help budding artist reach their potential. I can see that the software’s support of this feature will help her obtain her goal for this purpose.

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Right now, if you purchase this program on the launch day or soon after (which is today, July, 11, 2016), you can have this program for 50% off its regular price of $39.99 USD for a Single-User License. This is a nice savings, and will allow you to become a paying customer for Ashampoo’s products, and might entitle you to future upgrades and discounts on this program, as well as the other members of their product family line. In my opinion, this is well worth the money for such a powerful and versatile program that can be used for personal and professional projects, alike. If you need this program for multi-user environments or for business purposes, you can contact them for a price quote, directly. If you still are not convinced that this is for you, you can use their trial version, and test it out for yourself. As always, keep on techin’!

NGWIN PicPick 4.13 Review:

NGWIN PicPick 4.13 Review:

As a blogger, who focuses on the areas of media, games, and adaptive technology, having a tool-set that allows me to capture this images, logos, and screen grabs of what I am reviewing is a vital component. I have used the tried methodology of a keystroke sequence (alt-print-screen, print screen), plus other software capture software suites, but my results have been middling, at best. I have been lucky that most companies/entities have provided images for the reviews that I have done. Nonetheless, many times I have not had the right image or at the correct size, so finding a program to accomplish this has become a paramount concern of mine. My searching is now over, as NGWIN and its PicPick program has come to the rescue!

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This fine program allows you to use a toolbox that has a basic image editor, a screen capture toolbox, and some specialized tools, like a pixel ruler, a screen coordinate cross-hair, protractor, and a whiteboard for brainstorming. Allow of these tools can be used together, as well as the ability to share your files across the web, via cloud services. The tools are easy to access from a small palette icon, residing in your system tray or inside of a window (which can be turned off) that opens when the program is run.

Anyone familiar with Microsoft Paint or GIMP will be very much at home with PicPick’s Image Editor. The basic features allow you to re-size, crop, color, and modify your images with ease. The program has pre-built image profile sizes for mobile screens, so if you are making images that are properly formatted to be viewed on said devices, you are in luck. You can even place watermarks that can both denote and help protect your images, as they go broad across the web. This feature is usually only found in more expensive products, so having it included in this suite is a great boon to your artistic endeavors.

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The primary purpose of this program is a fully-featured screen capture utility. You can find other programs that accomplish this, but the costs and limitations on their free versions leave something to be desired. Along comes PicPick and blows away the competition, with multiple levels of capture technique.

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In my usage of free capture methods, I have always had to settle for whole screen image or just the active window. I have never been able to free select the image capture aperture, nor include the cursor or scroll bars. Now, I can capture all of these details, and do so easily and repeatedly. Each mode is designed to help make your screen capture tasks in an intuitive manner, easy to comprehend and utilize with minimal difficulty. Just try it for yourself, and you will see how easy it really is to do.

Taking images and screen grabs are of nominal usage, if you are not able to put these into practice. NGWIN has you covered here, as well. Whether you want use your images on your local system (clipboard, PDF’s, image files) or distribute them across the web (e-mail, Dropbox, Google Drive, Skydrive, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), support is built/baked into the program, so you are set to carry out these tasks, right out of the box. I know as a blogger, being dependent on web-ready, shareable images are a paramount concern of mine; I need this feature set and so will you.

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The program comes with some specialized tools, like a color picker/analyzer to help you copy/determine the pixel colors on screen. It also comes with a corresponding color palette to place these colors. It comes with a scalable screen magnifier (nice for us vision-impaired folks) to see details lost to us, as the years go by. The last set of tools that I will highlight is very graphic design specific, in that they are used for print/web layout. The Cross-hair, Protractor, and Ruler tools help us designers to place out images, text, and overall flow. Being able to combine these added value tools with the
aforementioned features is a great supplement to round out this package.

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I know how much you must love this program, so you may ask “How much is this going to cost me?” The answer is not a whole lot, for what you get. The price is scalable, depending on the number of users/licenses that you need, and decreases/license as you go up in numbers. The starting price is $21.99 USD (sale price), and that price is for one license that can be used by a single person on a desktop and one laptop. The paid Pro version does include the usage of this program for commercial applications, so you will not need to pay a second fee to go from personal to business, as well as lifetime upgrades. Nice value for the money, and well worth the cost. However, if you want to check out the program and see if it is a good fit for you, you can download a Home free version that includes ads, no tech support, and manual updates. Whatever you choose, you will find this program will become indispensable, so do yourself a favor, and get this right away. Until next time, keep on smiling!

Incomedia WebSite X5 Evolution 12 Review

Incomedia WebSite X5 Evolution 12 Review

As a blogger, with my own column, I can attest how important it is to have a professional image/layout for you site. I have been lucky, in my transition from Tumblr to WordPress; I was able to find a free theme to meet my needs, though many are not. One issue with free themes for many people is lack of unique identity, and the ability to keep them working with changes to the WordPress’ platform. Another issue is that many free themes also can have nefarious links to malware and cyber security dangers. That aside, free templates for general website creation have similar problems, and are not nearly adaptable for various industries and sectors, as their paid alternatives.

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Fortunately, the fine firm of Incomedia, and their flagship website suite, WebSite X5 Evolution 12 eliminates these hurdles, and eradicates any limitations that you might put on your site design. Utilizing a systematic (step-by-step) approach that walks you through each phase of site creation, you can both real-time preview each change, and see what your site needs next. If you are unsure of how you should layout your site, WebSite X5 has countless pre-formatted templates and stock images, to get your started. As each step is completed, you can then plan to either publish to your site host or locally, so you can then take the completed site into another web editor or program.

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Once you start up the program, you are presented to a window, which allows you both login/setup your web membership account, as well as browse the promoted templates and galley items that are available for free or for purchase, with credits (which can be purchased online, directly from Incomedia in bulk packs). You can also check on updates and the answer data-bank/FAQ updates that address various issues in the WebSite X5 community. This is also the wizard/systematic creation module start point.

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To create your site, just follow the instructions, outlined in each step, and add in the required information, such as you URL, site name, site icon (favicon), and so forth. Each level of creation has clear, concise help and built-in tools that make the process intuitive and much easier than in years prior. I know that making a website, from years ago, required a lot of HTML/CSS/PHP coding, and put the power of site creation in the hands of the programmers, versus the artists. Now, with a program, such as WebSite X5 Evolution, you can focus on how you want your site to look, the pages to include, and the features you need, and let the software handle the hard coding for you. Do not fret, though, if you want to do coding or modification of the code placed by the software, you can easily take charge of this task.

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I do have a background in graphic design (as some of you know), by my training and emphasis is the print media realm. As I was graduating from college, I took a web design class, where I used Adobe GoLive (a program that I believe has been discontinued) and Photoshop together to make a site. This was my only site creation tools that I had used, and we did not get taught any HTML or coding skills at all, as we were told that we would hand off those tasks to a dedicated web programmer. Fast forward to now (ten plus years later), and my web creation skills still depend on GUI wizards and templates for my online output. Thankfully, these have gotten me by, but now with the expansive tools, provided by Incomedia and WebSite X5, I can broaden my horizons and expand what I can do, now. This will be true of you, as well; as I know that you can take these tools and make them your own, too!

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One thing I want to highlight is that WebSite X5 does support e-commerce and online stores. Being disabled and doing this as a hobby, I do not need an online storefront, but my wife does have a home-based, e-business, that does need these features. She sells her artwork online, and she wants to do so, directly to her customers. With this suite, she can now design her own shopping cart, and collect payment from her patrons. This software supports payment processing from major players, such as PayPal and the major credit cards vendors/issuers. Such payment methods are how she deals with customers all around the world, so being able to integrate their widgets into any site layout she chooses is a welcome and important boost.

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One, last area that should be highlighted is a bundled web hosting package, included with a licensed copy. For right now, if you purchase this software, you get included one year of web hosting from several, select providers. It does you no good if you design a great site, and have nowhere to put it or a way to list it for public consumption. If you have ever shopped for a web host, the pricing tiers can be quite varied and include much trade-offs. Also, many web hosting packages do not include your DNS registration fees, as those are extra costs. Said included DNS registry is a benefit of the one year’s hosting included this service; a nice inclusion for potential savings.

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I could drone on more about the potential benefits of this program, but the program speaks for itself. If you would like more information or more details, check out this YouTube video that goes into great detail, on how a site can come together. This software comes in three versions: Home – $19.99 USD, Evolution – $75.00, and Professional – $199.99 USD. Each tier allows for various feature sets, focusing on personal website creation, commercial, and advanced commercial website creation, respectfully. Whatever version you purchase, you can upgrade to the other tiers for a reduced price. I know whichever version you choose, you will be very happy with your purchase, and will be hard pressed to find a better value for the money. Keep making your websites, and I look forward to seeing what you make. As always, until next time . . .

Save2PC Review

Consumption of media has dramatically changed, in the last twenty years. We have gone from watching television on cable, antenna or satellite, to watching a cacophony of genres, including music videos, television programs, to the latest movies released, online. The bulk of media consumed is found through streaming of content on the Internet, from sites like YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and the major networks, plus social media shares. While having these channels ready for us, whenever we want to watch (some with subscriptions), and the downside is that we need to be actively connected to the web. Many people do not have high-speed internet access or sizable data plans for mobile devices, so always only being able to stream is not very viable. This problem has been weighed over the years, and some less than great solutions have been proposed and tried. Some of these have been by using a website downloader link/conversion URL, with middling results.

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Today, a new player that is rising in the field is from FDRLab, called Save2PC, which comes in multiple versions. This program allows you save streamed audio/video programs to your computer, so you can play it back locally. You can simply copy the link to the stream in the program window, and begin to download the file to your system storage. You can save the downloaded file in a number of formats (.flv, .avi, .mpeg, .mov, .mp4, etc.), dependent on the program version, and the original file format that was posted or uploaded to the site. One thing that I want to stress to my readership (yet again) is the “time-shifting” of recording, copyrighted materials is only permitted/dependent on the region of the world, in which you reside, and within the Terms of Service of the sites you may use. This “time-shifted” recording is very narrowly defined, under the very murky “grey” area of fair use/fair dealings, so use it at your own risk.

Now that we have that out of the way, if where you live, you can do this, legally; this will allow you to take these media files with you, wherever you go. I can image that if you want to watch a game play video or movie trailer, on your portable media device, you can download it, and then show your friends. Now you can watch your web-based media files, without the need for an internet connection. I can see that this does, indeed, open up the possibilities for you media, untethered from the web.

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I feel that being able to dub/record off streaming services might grow, as the distribution of media moves more way from physical media, as the years go by. The biggest question is that will these outlets integrate these saving/recording features or will they leave this open to other software providers, such as FDRLab and their Save2PC program? As these shaking questions remain to be answered, you can turn to Save2PC to cover your needs.

You may be asking, which version is right for me? The answer lies in which formats you need for saving/recording files, and which sites you may want to download from. They have a comparison chart, which highlights the difference between each version. Also, the max quality recording settings can be affected by the version you purchase. The pricing tiers are as follows: Standard – $29.99 USD, Professional -$39.99 USD, and Ultimate – $49.99 USD. If you want the maximum features and widest format support, I recommend the Ultimate version. If you elect the lower tiers, you can upgrade to the higher versions, for additional fees. Currently, the upgrade costs are an additional fourteen dollars, per level (Standard to Professional+$14.00 USD, then Professional to Ultimate+$14.00 USD, additionally). As anything, these prices are apt to change, so I would upgrade before they go up. Whatever you choose, I know that you will like this nice, little program. Give this a whirl, via the Save2PC Light version, which functions as a limited-feature trial, and I am sure that you will like what you see. See you next time . . .

Password Boss Review:

Password Boss Review:

In today’s world, online security is a paramount concern. As more and more of our lives move online, keeping our identities away from prying eyes and grifter thieves, means we need to make very secure passwords.  This is further complicated by needing to make unique and diversified passwords that are only used at one location/site. I know that having a different password for one shopping site, a different login credentials for another, is so hard to keep track of, in my mind. It is so easy to fall back on familiar number patterns, birthdates, names, and places, but in doing so, it makes it very easy to decipher these details, and thus steal your identity. Prior solutions have been proposed, including browsers that store these passwords inside themselves, biometric security, including fingerprint readers, and even some early online password depositories; each with their own benefits and drawbacks. What I have found is that in relying on these methods is very inconsistent, as many devices do not have biometric readers, or access to the saved passwords, between devices. In addition, risking dependence on the security protocols of browsers to safely save and use your password data is just asking for trouble. What can you do to solve this quandary, and have the wide access you need to achieve? The answer is found in the password generator/depository program called Password Boss.

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This fine piece of software allows you both create unique, one-off passwords, and then store them in a database; ready for quick login/retrieval. This program is a combination of both a web account, and a software platform, installed on either a computer or mobile device. The program runs in the background, allowing you save your payment information and online shopping information, behind a strong, encrypted “digital wallet,” along with whatever passwords/logins that you may have created. If you need to create new, unique passwords to replace your old repeated passwords or make new login credentials, this excellent piece of software has a password generator, which will meet any parameters needed. You can determine what random characters and symbols are contained in the passwords, including special characters, so if you need a certain combination, it will make them flawlessly. In addition, you can safely store your personal information (names, phone numbers, addresses, and even Social Security numbers) behind such encrypted security, to aid in anti-identity protection.

These features are available for no charge, and are a nice alternative to having to rely on the security inside of modern browsers or one’s own memory. However, if you need stronger, bank-grade security, the ability to sync your secured data between devices, sharing login credentials between friends/family, and priority support, they have an annual subscription of $29.99 USD/year, called Password Boss Premium. Not unlike most premium anti-virus and internet security suites, subscriptions such as this are worth the cost/investment, as they give piece of mind, great support, and knowing that being able to conduct business and legal matters online, in a way that deters thieves and criminals to not to be underestimated. I do want to highlight that the folks at Password Boss pay it forward. If you are a member of an educational institution, non-profit charities, and religious institution, they have complementary licenses for the premium features. They feel that these organizations are doing the greater good, and do not need to worry about everyday security matters, such as these.

I could drone on, in regards to the nuanced features that Password Boss offers, on both the free and subscription models, but the best way to find out of this for you is to try it out, for yourself. They do offer a trial of the Premium version that you can try out, above the basic free features. Just try it out, and I am sure that you will want to use this fine platform. They have mentioned, that you my fine readers, might be able to win a 1-year Premium License Subscription. Stay tuned for details, and they become available. Until next time, folks . . .

MediaMonkey 4.1 Gold In-Depth Review:

Our world has dramatically changed in the last sixteen years, as it relates to media consumption and portability. Pre-2000, we watched movies on VHS or DVD, listened to music on CD, and watched TV shows on what else, TV. Now days, we watch movies and TV on Blu-ray, online, on our computers, not to mention on our electronic devices in our pockets and backpacks. The same can be said for enjoying our music and other entertainment pursuits. Such a dramatic shift means the old rules no longer apply. Sensing the trend change in the wind, pioneers, such as Apple, Creative, and Microsoft laid a groundwork for personal consumption and taking our fun with us, wherever we go (in the car, on the bus, walking to and from school/work, etc.). While their contributions cannot be undersold or downplayed, the numerous companies, technologies, and platforms on the tech landscape, today, necessitate flexibility and usability. That in mind, being trapped into one ecosystem or software suite or program is far too limiting in scope and functionality.

This is especially true of the advent of the divergence between Apple devices (closed-loop proprietary O/S) and the emergence of the Android operating system (a fork of Linux; an open-source kernel O/S). Trying to take your media (music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, etc) back and forth between these two presents incompatibility issues, in terms of file format, DRM, and sync profiles. Addressing these has been frustrating and infuriating, especially as my household is now both iOS and Android; needing this key interoperability. Thankfully, I recently discovered a turn-key solution for cataloging, tagging metadata, and syncing my media files between my iPhone/iPad devices, and my wife’s iPhone and her Amazon Kindle Fire. This saving grace is called MediaMonkey from Ventis Media.

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Once you open this media organizer software, you are presented with a multi-pane window, which is in the vein of a hybrid of Windows File Explorer and Winamp. You have the directory tree on the left, with your media files (showing artwork, details, or a combo of each) in the center, and on the far right you have a Now Playing List and an Art and Details sub-panel. From here, you can choose which category of media you want to browse (music, movies, podcasts, etc.) and you can select individual tracks and files, play them, and see the upcoming files to be played next.

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These tasks will take place, after you have imported your media into your MediaMonkey’s internal library. The nice feature of this is that you can manage/sync your files, separate from iTunes, which is very handy if you need to do so, on non-Apple devices. This media import function is easy to setup, as you set a directory/hard drive to monitor for changes, and it will do so, automatically, so any additions or subtractions of you files will match up with its iTunes counterpart (contingent on using the same directory or drive used for the iTunes library). The wizard takes several minutes, but worth the wait, as it speeds up bringing your files into MediaMonkey, in a streamlined manner. One thing of note, if you have iTunes FairPlay DRMBased video files (such as copyrighted TV shows and movies), these do not usually work, as playback of these files requires iTunes decryption algorithms. I have read that if you have Apple QuickTime 7 or later installed, they might playback, but I did not have this result. To play these back, you might have to use alternative means to transcode these files for non-Apple playback.

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Getting my media files and library organized, so I could use them across my wife and I’s Apple and Android devices, and I feel that this is MediaMonkey’s greatest asset and reason to buy the Gold Edition. My wife uses both an iPhone 5C and an Android Kindle Fire tablet, so syncing our movies, podcasts, and music, without having to buy two copies (Amazon Store version and an iTunes Music store version), and having to manually adding said files to each device, in a clunky fashion is not for us. Rest assured, MediaMonkey has the plugins built-in, so you can just connect your Android or Apple devices, via USB, open the software, and choose a one-time sync or auto-sync list, so your device has your files you want it to have.

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Whether or not you have all of your media files metadata tagged, MediaMonkey can come to the rescue. Since I was trying to find an Android solution for our iTunes Media Library, I wanted a better way to make sure the data was correct and up-to-date, over iTunes. Last thing I wanted was to keep propagating errors on my portable devices; bad enough on my computer. Just choose a file, right-click it, and choose from the Web, and presto, it will bring up the internet database page for that file, and you can add that info, easily. I concede that Apple iTunes will do this, too, but not nearly as good or accurately. I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten bad metadata or missing fields or artwork. Best experience I have ever had getting the correct tag info, hands down.

I could go on and on about the elegant and simple media library client that MediaMonkey is, but I will cut to the chase as to why you should elect to buy the Gold Edition of this fine piece of software. The price tier comes in two flavors, Gold Edition (4.x only) $24.95 USD, and Gold Edition (Lifetime) – $49.95 USD. While the Basic version works well, the premium features for Gold Edition are well worth the price of admission. There is a fairly long list of added features that comes with Gold Edition, but I want to highlight a couple of them, which are worth going gold for. The first feature set that is well worth it is the Auto Artwork and tag lookup from the Web, which I have mentioned, previously. If you have spent any time, trying to find artwork and info on your files, the lost productivity, alone is worth the cost, not to mention that ease that comes with just a right-click. The second feature set worth the cost is cross-check/sort/catalog of your media files. This really comes into play, if you have a large library, and want to dig deep and easily find what you are looking for. Having the option of selecting the Composer, Conductor, Original Year (published), cross-fade tracks, by genre, etc. makes it much better and nuanced way to file your media, and create playlists and custom Collections (both additional features of Gold Edition).

Either way, try out MediaMonkey from Ventis Media, and see what you think. After all, once you see the potential, I know that you will want to go for the Gold. Until next time, Happy Belated New Year 2016, and I hope you have a nice Valentine’s Day, too!

iMobie AnyTrans In-Depth Review:

You may remember some months back, I did a review of iMobie’s PhoneClean. This fine product/tool you recall allowed you to sanitize/clean the junk files and leftover temp files stored on your device, eating up valuable space. While this fine tool does this in a fantastical fashion, the day-to-day management of your media files and apps has fallen to iTunes for both MAC and PC for years. Now iMobie has risen to this challenge, giving us a viable alternative that allows you to manage, transfer, upload/download files/apps in a simple, clean interface. Being able to have a drag-in-drop ability to import, export, add and subtract the various files that your iDevice can use. I know that being tethered to iTunes, with its ups and downs over the years has been bittersweet to say the least. Having a viable alternative to Apple’s flagship software suite is a breath of fresh air. Having familiarity with iMobie’s other great offerings allows people to jump into a refined GUI interface that is clean and very easy to systematically operate.

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Once the program is downloaded and installed, just fire up the software and you can begin the trial period, with its limitations, (but I feel confident that you will spring for the full program package, once you know the features/price point) and connect your iDevice(s) to start your untethering from iTunes. Keep in mind, the purchase price includes lifetime updates, and a two-tiered pricing model, which allows you to use the software on one PC (Single-User License – $39.99 – Sale Price) and the Family Edition ($59.99 – Sale Price). The price is going to increase to $59.99 and $99.99, respectfully on January 24, 2016. Either way, I know that you will have gotten your money’s worth.

 

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Once your device is connected/accessible, you are presented with a GUI menu that has a couple of tabs. You can choose between your iTunes library and your iDevice(s), and get an overview of what is in your library and what has or has not been transferred. Having this information is the basis of how to manipulate/manage the media files that are on your iDevices, your computer, and between iDevices, in a bi-directional fashion. A nice feature of this software is the ability to utilize multi-thread CPU’s to expedite this process and management of the various file type and apps, compared to iTunes (which seems to chug and drag, when you have a lot of files to update, sync, and transfer between devices).

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On the device tab, you are presented with some nice 1-click options that can streamline common tasks. You have the option of rebuilding/importing your media files from your iDevice into iTunes Media Library. This is especially nice, if your library has damaged or missing files, playlists, and ratings. A second option is to transfer the contents of your iDevice to your PC, for backup purposes and then make an archive of those files onto other HDDs or portable devices. Thirdly, you can move your files from one device to another, for the purpose of upgrades, sharing or migrating to a new device. Next, you can clone your device (1-to-1 copy) that allows you to get back up in running; a key option, if you have a hardware failure. You also can merge two devices into one, cohesive whole (so that you can have a unified media library on one device). This can take place, without erasing the files on the target device. Lastly, you can add files to your device, bypassing iTunes Media Library and the files already in on the device.

 

 

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As someone, who has never messed with playlists, being able to make, transfer, edit, and delete them seems intriguing in AnyTrans. I have always made sure that metadata inside each file is accurate (artist, album, and year, title, genre, artwork, etc.), so when I import files into iTunes, everything cross-checks and cross-references, copasetic. Usually, I just play my music, podcasts, and movies (to some extent), based solely on this metadata. However, my wife does use playlists, frequently. Being able to do this for her, between our devices will be a godsend. After you connect your device into AnyTrans, go to the Audio Button, click it, and soon you will shown a Playlist button, which will show you a divided window with the lists on the right, and songs on the left. It is very easy to comprehend, and follow if you use this option in iTunes.

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Another key feature of this fine suite of products is the ability to transcode your media. As I have highlighted in times past, native file formats that play on your iDevice are not as prevalent as those used on the web or desktop arenas. I know that my computer, over the years has used MPEG formats, then WMA, and now AAC for my audio. I have used VCD, SVCD, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MOV, and now MP4 for video. While I have the utilities needed to make the files work on my iDevice, natively, being able to add files, with AnyTrans, without needing a conversion is a breath of fresh air. I know that trying to sync large media files, even through a dedicated cable interface (in place of wireless) is a headache.

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I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to sync my media files, through iTunes, only to have files come up missing or orphaned. I have an older iPad (1st. Gen) and an iPhone 4, with older iOS versions, and keeping them current with my updated files flunks out frequently. Now having an alternative way to add and manage my files and apps will be a saving grace. This software’s strongest function falls solidly into this category, and it is the number one to buy this software, in this reviewer’s opinion.

I could go on and on about how this software will vastly improve you iDevice life, but the software speaks for itself. With the fine developer, iMobie at the helm, and the stellar reputation precedent set forth by their PhoneClean program, you know that you will not go wrong. You can purchase a Personal License for $59.99 USD or a $99.99 Family License that can used on all of you PC’s. As always, they have lifetime priority support and updates/upgrades for this program. Check out this fine offering from iMobie, and you will agree that this is a great addition to you fine library.