Tag: security

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.

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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’ . . .

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Ashampoo Burning Studio 18 In-Depth Review:

Ashampoo Burning Studio 18 In-Depth Review:

You may recall that I reviewed the flagship burning suite from Ashampoo, called Burning Suite 16, not too long ago. Now they have released the updated replacement, entitled Burning Studio 18, and it is packed with nice features and improved functions. Everything that you loved from the prior entry is here, only better, and easier to use. Now, let’s get into the details, and see what is on offer.

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If you are like me, you enjoy listening to your tunes, when you are out and about. This extends to traveling in the car, and this time of the year, singing along with Christmas music. Many newer automotive makers have vehicle product lines have A/V smart radio receivers are factory installed. This is nice to have, without adding an after-market unit, but it comes with some hurdles. Many different radios can only playback certain file formats, while excluding others from the list.

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Burning Studio 18 has a sure-fire way to make it possible to make a disc that will be compatible for whatever device is in the car, and playback is a breeze. The program is designed to allow you to select from numerous presets for radios/playback devices that take the guesswork out of this process, an excellent program feature for 21st Century music disc authoring. This is a must-have feature for disc authoring of today’s digital music.

People this time of year make numerous photos, video, and memories of the holiday festivities. When they sit down to compile the images into a cohesive whole, and lay out albums, it can be overwhelming and in disarray as to how best to present them to the group. Many have elected to turn them into slideshows and add in music and transitions, so they can be shown on the computer and/or TV.

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Since the release of Burning Studio 18, this excellent program has added the support for MPEG-4 H.264/AAC audio-video file formats. This allows you to create state-of-the-art HD videos that give you the sheen of a Hollywood production, yet star you and your friends and family. Now when you add transitions and sound effects, you will how numerous ways to make your memories sparkle.

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Data breaches and e-mail scandals make the headlines, it seems weekly. From the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government, and the recent election fiasco, on down to local government office being ransomed by hackers, to ordinary people getting their personal computers locked out, unless Bitcoin is paid for its release. Now, more than ever, people need solid, controlled environments to backup and secure their data for these and other reasons. Burning Studio 18, and the stable of single and multi-span volume backups/archives. Knowing that you can put your trust in this program, and know that if the worse happens, you can get your data (and to a certain extent, your life) back. This cannot be understated and brushed aside, as a core feature for burning software.

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These are but a few, key features that have been added and/or improved with this edition of the software. I know that if you try this version, you will be very happy with these changes. If you act now (December 2016), you will find that many of Ashampoo’s products are on sale, with significant discounts to be had. As always, the trial version of the program will allow you try it out for yourself. Until next time, Merry Christmas and keep on techin’ . . .

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’!

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’. . .

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’!

Ashampoo WinOptimizer 14 In-Depth Review:

Ashampoo WinOptimizer 14 In-Depth Review:

As a technician, I know all too well how important routine maintenance on your system is to its overall health. Back from the days of Symantec, and its Norton Utilities and SystemWorks program suites, people have been clamoring for advanced and full-featured tools that augment the operating systems ability to manage their hard drives and registry. As the last twenty years can attest, the growth of the Internet and its transmitted data left behind in people’s systems has only grown the need to add temporary file cleaning and cookie management to system tools, beyond the blocking of malware and pop-ups. While such programs has traditional cost upwards of around $99.99 USD for a single, consumer license, back in the late 1990’s, options available today can be had for less money. You may ask who I should trust with these vital system tasks, the answer is the fine folks at Ashampoo, and their new flagship system utilities suite, WinOptimizer 14.

box_ashampoo_winoptimizer_14_frontThis fine product launches, today, and I can tell you that this program has a nice pedigree of both features and solid customer service/support. At only $49.99 USD for a single license, this program covers the following features and services: Computer Management (info, performance, restore points, processes, etc.), Security (privacy setting, file deletion, file encryption, file splitting, and file restoration), Hard Drive(s) (free space, defragmentation, health status, resource hogs analysis, software uninstallation, duplicate files, speed measurement, etc.), Internet (delete web traces and connection optimization), Operation System (registry clean-up, defrag registry, service management, system settings, icon positions, rick-click menus, file associations, and user permissions), and General Settings (undo changes, maintenance plans, and options). These umbrella categories allow you to protect, tweak, and customize how Microsoft Windows 10 performs for you individual system. While this operating system does have some of these functionalities, it is not as encompassing as WinOptermizer 14 or as user friendly as Ashampoo’s GUI layout across their program family. Breaking down some of these sections will allow me to highlight what each facet of this program suite can be of use to you, my readers, in your daily lives.

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Of primary concern to both business and consumer users is security in the 21st. Century, Internet-connected, inter-operative devices and networks. As I have highlighted before, being able to set limits on data sharing between your computer, operating system, and third parties is a high priority. WinOptermizer 14 has a nice, clean interface that lets you set the different telemetry data restrictions, Cortana (Microsoft’s virtual assistant/search app integrator) limits, and how your apps interact with your personal data. These limits help protect who you are, and what programs you use, to shield companies from using this data for marketing, without your permission.

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A simple menu module that gives each category (where features are held) on the left and various tabs that allows you to make sub-category choices from there, via checkbox. The process is straight forward and very intuitive, even for someone who has any form of disability (such as me), and explains what these changes will mean to the user, and whether or not you want to enable/disable said options. Such straight forwardness is not often found in many security-focused programs, but Ashampoo has made this a priority.

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Along with app/telemetry data protections, WinOptermizer 14 is a strong cookie/temp file deletion program. No matter what browser you might choose to use (Edge, IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari or Opera), the simple, concise module will show you what junk is left behind from your browsing/downloading. Each browser has its own row, so you can be selective of what you remove or leave behind. Most people will want to delete all of their history, cookies, temp files, etc. to best protected themselves from snooping and any nefarious usage of their system on the Internet.

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The likelihood is not high, but with ransonware and new forms of malware being developed all of the time, it is better to be safe than sorry. One added benefit of this habit is it wills the freeing up of hard drive storage consumed by accumulated web debris. I can tell you how quickly these types of files can eat up your drive space. When I was an active on-site tech for a major IT companies, I had a service call, in which I had to start an Internet cleanup sweep for a residential customer. I had to leave it running overnight, and when I checked up on the progress the next day, the customer informed me that he had retrieved back over 3.5 GB of disk space. Not only did that give some breathing room on the drive, but allowed the man and his wife to be able to visit websites without a tremendous slowdown on connection speeds. This is a vital toolset and task that should be done with great regularity.

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I could inundate you with more benefits of a system utility suite, but the program really can speak for itself. The thing I want you to take away from this article is that you need this program in your computer life. No matter if you use everything that this program offers; whatever you choose to implement it is well worth the price tag. As I alluded to you earlier, many programs of this type cost around $100.00 USD, but Ashampoo WinOptimizer 14 only cost half of that price. If you are not certain that you need this program, you can of course try out the trial/demo version. If you act now, they can offer you an extended trial period, to give you extra time to decide if you want to get this great program. Also, as this is a new version of this program, you can buy this for 40% off ($29.99 USD, instead of $49.99 USD). Once you try this program, you will become not only a customer of WinOptimizer 14, but all of Ashampoo, and their product family. Just try this program, and I know you will agree. Until next time, keep on computing. . .

SoftOrbits Privacy Protector for Windows 10 1.6 Review:

SoftOrbits Privacy Protector for Windows 10 1.6 Review:

Twenty-first Century O/S’s have many advantages of built-in programs and features, but they can have some undesired side effects. One of those categories is the emergence of data mining and privacy leeching. With the latest operating systems and programs, individuals and businesses have had to weight trading their personal data and information, for enhanced services and free software. As society movies away from traditional media channels, with their in-place advertising systems and metrics, to on-demand, 24/7 world, with these same groups clamoring for all the information and customer data they can retrieve. They need this info to help them reach their customers and make more sales, but at the cost of the individual’s privacy.  You need these programs, but how can you combat these requests and take advantage of these new programs, you may ask. Your friends at SoftOrbits have you protected, and ready to move ahead.

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Their new privacy advocacy protection program, Privacy Protector for Windows 10 allows you to install Microsoft Windows 10, and then shield them from snooping on your data, searches, keystrokes, OneDrive, etc. Being able to take advantage of the advanced features of this cutting-edge operating system, while establishing boundaries between you and these corporations is a great compromise. Not only can you shield these aforementioned elements, but also remove the pesky built-in apps (Metro apps) that come bundled with the operating system. This is a great addition, if you never use these programs, and would rather use alternatives or need programs to access these slated file types.

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The list of options that can be chosen range from establishing a system restore point to deleting the OneDrive application. I recommend that you choose the following options: delete the key logger and telemetry, spying tasks, block spy hosts, deny access to your Contacts, Calendar, Camera, Location, Sensors, Messages, Handwriting, Disabled Cortana, Bing Search, Wi-Fi Sense, password reveal, etc. These features can help provide a nice level of protection, while allowing you to still carry on with basic Windows features. While some people may love Cortana’s virtual assistant and scheduler, I am not comfortable with Microsoft or any company building a profile of my personal habits, on my searches and appointments. If you are fine with this level of data sharing, you can leave this option unchecked. No matter what options that might pick, you will go a long way to keep your information yours.

 

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As I alluded to you earlier, some people might want to remove the built-in Metro apps. It might be a space requirement (HDD space), or maybe these apps you do not personally like or find intuitive. It also might be based on the fact the Metro apps do not work for the file types you might need or use regularly. I personally use other media programs for music/video playback, so my usage of Groove Music will be minimal or not at all. It might consider uninstalling this program to free up some space or to keep this from accidently becoming the default program for these file types. If I choose to do so, I will use this program to remove it, as it cannot be uninstalled from the Programs menu in the Control Panel.

 

The last section that this program offers is the Tools section. Inside of this menu, there are just a few options to pick from that allows you to modify the Windows Update feature, restore the system, disable User Account Control (UAC), and finally edit the Hosts file. Each of these features has their uses, especially if you are leery of Windows Update causing you problems or the UAC causing you to not be able to run/install programs correctly. The Hosts file editing option is great for experienced technicians to make tweaks to what website DNS look-ups your system uses.

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No matter what level of your technical skill-set you possess, this program makes your Windows 10 installation behave the way it should have, right from the factory. I know how well this company stands behind its products, so I can only imagine what they have in store for this program, once the Windows 10 Anniversary Edition launches later this summer.

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I know once you try SoftOrbits Privacy Protector of Windows 10, you will buy this game, immediately. As always, this program comes in three tiers. The first tier is Personal ($39.99 USD), which allows you to use this software on one computer, in a non-commercial, non-business environment. The second tier is Home ($59.99 USD), which is the same as Personal, except it can be used on two computers, instead of one. The last tier is Business ($99.99 USD), which can be used in commercial and business environments. These all include minor updates to the program, and you can try the demo, before you buy the program. A great product, and great company; you cannot get better than that, folks! Until next time, everybody . . .

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 . . .

Ashampoo ZIP Pro Software Review

Ashampoo ZIP Pro Software Review

Today, in the year 2016, we still need archive files for electronic communication. It seems amazing that this is still needed, but considering the bottlenecks in server limits for attachments, as well as the technical limitations between O/S’s, hardware platforms, and the still emerging spread of high-speed internet rollouts; it is still very much needed. While the aforementioned operating systems have been more inclusive of select archive formats, in their latest versions, (primarily the .zip format) the limited tools built in, means that a more comprehensive, robust program is needed. As in cases before, I have used freeware alternatives, but I have been underwhelmed by the self-extracting features included especially the options, security protocols, and presentation modes available. I have looked into various flagship archive programs, but felt the price points and their associated capabilities did not warrant the purchase. Fortunately, I discovered Ashampoo, recently (I first reviewed their Burning Studio 16, last week), and they had the answer to my archive needs.

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My usage of archive files has lessened some, as drive storage sizes have exponentially increased, but when I need to compress a file, ZIP Pro has made my life more concise and secure. Unlike the competition, especially on the freeware side, this program makes any file I need compressed smaller, encryptable, and generally secure. You can not only add the files and respective paths to the archive, but also verify the MD5 hashes, repair archives, and create self-extracting files. This is just scratching the surface of what this program can do. My main usage of archive tools, resolves around sending files, via e-mail or cloud storage services.

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In delving into these waters, of using said channels, I have found a newly discovered issue that this program can aid one with, regarding secured archives. As many of my readers are all-too aware of, in the second decade of the 21st. Century, web security and privacy have risen to the forefront of the public consciousness. With the exposure of how various government agencies collect data, in both mobile and computer platforms, people are more concerned and focused on keeping their lives away from prying eyes. Movements starting in the mid-to-late 1990’s have pushed for public key encryption, so that data can be exchanged, between parties, without being easily eavesdropped on by others. This has garnered support from various platforms, including e-mail clients and now archive programs. Ashampoo ZIP Pro fully backs and supports this usage, and allows you to create public keys, sign and encrypt/decrypt files, so they can be safely shared.

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I want to emphasize that using such key encryption, (is and should only be) allowed to be used for legal, lawful purposes. This technology is not 100% hack proof, but is nearly that secure. However, the powers that be can trace your movements, files, and communications, via other methods and techniques. Also of note, such encryption practices may banned/outlawed, country to country, territory to territory, so be aware of the regulations that apply to you. While this is a feature set that I have decided to implement, to protect vital and sensitive information, this is just one feature that you will find useful.

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One feature that I find very handy is the ability to transcode an archive from one file format to another. If you have the need to make an archive file that is readable, natively, on a different platform, it is very nice to change the file, rather than have to recompile the archive all over again. I know that when I have sent files to someone, say for instance, a Linux distribution, having an archive format that uses .tar for them, versus .zip may be more preferable.

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I have had my share of broken files, and an archive that will not unpack that last file is very frustrating. Now, being able to use a wizard to fix the broken pieces of my archives is a nice saving grace. Just knowing that I might be able to rectify a failed download or messed up file, via e-mail gives me a tool that I have not had, until now.

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I could bore you with the overflowing features that is great program provides, but let me cut to the chase. You will be hard pressed to find a better, more robust, well-rounded archive program for the money. For the price of $39.99 USD, you can get this great software, with top-tier tech support (of which I try and highlight for you), and a solid, stable product. Just as last week, they offer a free version, with basic features (sans OpenPGP and batch archive support) or a trial version, if you want to test out the features. Either way you go, I know that you will be very happy with this prospective purchase. As always, catch you later, folks!

(Note: I hope that you can get excited, as I have a prospective contest connected with my next review. Stay tuned . . .)