Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How to transfer data between BlackBerry devices

Getting the most of your smartphone


Getting a brand new BlackBerry smartphone can be a life-changing experience. But how do you transfer the loads of personal information on your old device to that shiny new Pearl Flip? Fortunately, you can complete the process quickly.
I've covered various aspects of the BlackBerry Desktop Manager in the past, including how to use the program to load, update or remove applications; back up and restore handheld data; add media files to a BlackBerry microSD memory card; and determine the amount of smartphone memory you're using at any given point.
This BlackBerry Tip o' the Week explains how to use Desktop Manager to quickly and easily transfer all or some of the personal data and applications on an existing BlackBerry smartphone to another. All you need to get started are two mini USB sync cables (like the one that came with your BlackBerry,) the Desktop Manager software and the two BlackBerry smartphones. (Note: If you're transferring data to or from a device with a micro USB port, like the new Pearl 8220 Flip, you'll also need a micro USB sync cable.)

Step One: Get BlackBerry Desktop Manager

First things first: You'll want to download or install RIM's BlackBerry Desktop Manager software, if you haven't already. To do so, either insert the BlackBerry user tools disc that shipped with your device and then install the software, or visit RIM's website and download it manually. The latest version of Desktop Manager is 4.6., though earlier versions should do the trick, as well. (Note: BlackBerry Desktop Manager only works on PCs, though RIM has promised similar tools for Mac users in 2009.)

After installing BlackBerry Desktop Manager, launch the program by clicking on the desktop icon created during installation. (If you chose not to create a desktop icon, locate the application in your computer's program files and then launch.)

Step Two: Connect your existing BlackBerry, and select device switch wizard

Next, connect your existing BlackBerry smartphone - the one storing your personal data and applications - to your PC using the USB sync cable, and then close any unrelated dialogue boxes that appear. You know your device is connected when your BlackBerry PIN appears in the bottom left corner of the BlackBerry Desktop Manger screen, next to Device connected (PIN).
When the BlackBerry is connected to your PC and Desktop Manager, choose the Device Switch Wizard option. On the following screen, click Switch BlackBerry devices.

Step Three: Configure BlackBerry device switch wizard

The Switch BlackBerry devices screen displays three columns: Current device ; New device ; and Options . The first field below the Current device heading should be labeled PIN and the value within should match the PIN digits in the bottom left corner of the application screen. If not, open the drop down menu beneath Current device and select the PIN associated with the connected BlackBerry. If your device is password protected, you'll also need to enter your passcode.

Because you new device is not yet connected, we'll ignore the middle column for now.
The Options section lists a number of options related to the device data that you wish to transfer to the new device. For example, you can choose to transfer all device data and options, as well as all third-party applications. Or you can pick just device data or only third-party apps. There are also options for updating existing applications--if updates are available--and you can manually select which apps you wish to transfer. (Note: Some applications are OS-specific, so an app that works with BlackBerry handheld OS v4.3 may not function correctly on a device running OS v4.5.)

Step Four: Transfer data from one BlackBerry to another

When you've specified what data and apps you want to transfer, click the Next button in the bottom right corner of Desktop Manager to proceed. A variety of progress bars will appear on screen as Desktop Manager scans your device and copies its contents for backup. This will take a few minutes, so be patient.

When the backup process is complete, another dialogue box appears asking you to select your new device. At this point, connect the new BlackBerry that you wish to transfer data and applications to and select the corresponding PIN from the drop down menu. Again, you'll need to enter in your passcode here if your device is password protected. Then hit OK. Another set of progress bars then appears to scan the application configuration on the new BlackBerry.
If you checked the Options box for Allow me to select applications to add or update option , a list of all the applications on your existing BlackBerry appears. You can then choose which apps you want to transfer from the old device to the new. To remove an app from the list, simply uncheck the box next to that application. When you're finished, click Next.
Patience comes into play again at this point, as it can take anywhere from five minutes to half an hour to complete the process. So sit back, grab a soothing beverage perhaps, and decide what to do next with your new smartphone.
Two factors worth noting: After transferring personal data and apps to a new BlackBerry, you'll likely have to log back into any programs that require a user name and password, so you may want to have your login information handy. Second, it's not uncommon to come across application errors when attempting to transfer apps from one device to another--especially if those devices are running different OS versions. The simplest way to proceed after receiving an app error is to remove the problem application from the list of programs that will be transferred using the instructions above. Then you can simply download a fresh copy of the problem app at a later time.

Ubuntu 10.10: 12 reasons to try it now

Have you been wanting to give Ubuntu a test drive? With the debut of user-friendly Maverick Meerkat, there's no better time.


As Ubuntu 10.10, or "Maverick Meerkat," hits the streets this Sunday, it's a pretty safe bet that legions of existing Ubuntu users will be updating to the new release. After all, it looks to be Canonical's most user-friendly Ubuntu Linux yet, and many of the new features promise to be must-haves.
For those in the business world who haven't yet tried Ubuntu, however, the reasons to download and give it a whirl are even more compelling. Here are just a few of them.

1. Speed

Ubuntu 10.10 is fast -- darn fast. Even the beta version could boot in as little as 7 seconds, according to reports. Who has time to wait around for Windows when there's work to be done?

2. Price

There's no contest on this one, because Ubuntu is free. Pure and simple. No investment whatsoever, unless you want to buy professional support later on.

3. No Commitment

You can try out Ubuntu without changing or affecting anything else on your computer through options like a LiveCD, Live USB, Wubi or virtualisation--all of which I've already described elsewhere. In other words, you have nothing to lose.

4. Hardware Compatibility

Ubuntu will play well on just about any machine you might have sitting around, so you could also try it out on a spare one to keep it off your Windows machines altogether--until you decide you can't go back, that is.

5. Ubuntu One

Ubuntu One is the personal cloud service that lets you synchronize your files and notes and then access them from anywhere. You can also consolidate your computer and mobile phone contacts and share documents and pictures with them. On the fun side, you can use Ubuntu One to buy music and get it delivered to the computers of your choice.

6. Windows Compatibility

With Ubuntu 10.10, a beta client for Windows also allows users to integrate their Windows and Ubuntu worlds by accessing files from either platform. You'll never have to worry about being unable to get at your Windows files.

7. Applications

Unlike Windows, Ubuntu comes with key business productivity software for free, including OpenOffice.org. Firefox is included, but there's also support for both Flash and Google Chrome. Anything that's not there already, meanwhile, can be found in Ubuntu's Software Center. Whereas finding new software on Windows is very much a hunt-and-peck process, with lots of time spent on Google - and your credit card - the Software Center gives you a central place to find and download thousands of open source applications - for free - in a matter of seconds.

8. Security

Ubuntu - and pretty much every distribution of Linux - is extremely secure, particularly compared with Mac OS X and Windows. No wonder experts have recommended using Linux for online banking, in particular--the others just aren't secure enough.

9. Multitouch

If you try the Netbook Edition of Ubuntu on a supported netbook, you'll be able to see for yourself the brand-new multitouch features in Maverick's new Unity interface.

10. Beauty

One key emphasis in the new Ubuntu is making it more beautiful and aesthetically pleasing to use. The Unity interface is part of that in the Netbook Edition, and the Ubuntu Font Family is another part. It's all just nice to look at.

11. It's Sociable

Ubuntu's new "Me Menu" lets you access your Facebook and Twitter accounts straight from the desktop. You can connect to all your favorite chat channels and make updates through a single window.

12. It's Linux

There are so many reasons for businesses to use Linux today, it's hard to keep track of them all. Security is one, of course, but there are also many other reasons Ubuntu, in particular, has become such a good business choice - far better than Mac OS X or Windows.
Ubuntu 10.10 will be available for download starting on Sunday from Canonical's Ubuntu site. Of course, if you can't wait until then, there's always the Release Candidate, which is ripe for the picking right now. Either way, my bet is that once you try Ubuntu for your business, you're going to want to keep it.

By Katherine Noyes | PC World
Follow Katherine Noyes on Twitter: @Noyesk.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Got an Old CPU with Bent Pins? Here’s how to fix them

step 1Stuff you need

There's really only two things I use but you can use any substitute
1. A Swiss Army knife
2. Any Electronic plastic card such as a Credit card or SmartRider

But if you wanna be EXACT in fixing bent pins get a motherboard that is physically compatible with the CPU you are fixing so you can try and lock the processor into the processor socket
(I'm Using a 'Slocket')

step 2Scanning for Bent Pins

Ok for this you gotta have good eyes and a steady hand
1. Hold the CPU to EYE height and close your chosen eye
2. With your open eye slowly move your head or eye or both across the CPU, you know your doing it right when the pins align into rows
3.If you don't see anything abnormal yet, rotate the CPU 45 Degrees and repeat step 2 until you find the problem

Onto the next step

step 3Correcting the Bent Pins

1. Grab your Knife and wedge it under the bent pin and stand it up the best you can (forgot to take a pic of me doing this)
2. Do 1. until all the pins and relatively Straight
4. Repeat 3 from a different angle, this re-alligns the pins into the 'columns'

You may have to get your knife out again and repeat this whole process till your satisfied with your corrections.

step 4Testing your work

Now that you've corrected the bent pins ease the processor into the processor socket from one corner to the other, if the processor wont go in you should feel where it stopped going in.

Go back to step 2 until perfection and be patient, I spend about 5 mins per Processor

Once you have Fixed a processor cut a square of sponge or foam and using sticky tape to secure it onto the pins for safe storage and Transport

step 5It's like that (and thats the way it is)

That's it!
hope you like my instructable, it's open to question and recommendation
expect some more instructables from me as I head into holidays

Source: http://www.instructables.com

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How to use Bluetooth technology to connect laptop and cell phone?

We can use Bluetooth technology to connect laptop and cell phone. We can move videos, images, photos etc from a desktop computer or a laptop to our cell phones. In order to use Bluetooth technology to connect laptop and cell phone we need a laptop and a cell phone which support this technology.

If the laptop doesn't support it, we can use a USB Bluetooth dongle. Just plug it into the USB port of the desktop computer or laptop. Leave the rest to Microsoft Windows. It will find the driver and install it itself. If it is not supported, we can manually install it via the manufacturer's compact disk. Follow these simple steps in order to use Bluetooth technology to connect laptop and cell phone: (In this example, we are using Windows Vista.)

Turn on the Bluetooth feature on your cell phone.

Make this setting: my Phone's visibility -> Shown to all on the cell phone.

Open Bluetooth Devices by clicking on its icon in the Control Panel.

Look for the Bluetooth driver in the Device Manager and double-click on its icon.

Click on the Add button in Bluetooth Devices dialog box.

Check the box for "My devices is set up and ready to be found" in the Add Bluetooth Device Wizard dialog box.

Click on the Next button.

This device wizard will display the name of the found Bluetooth device close by.

Click on the device name that you would like to add and click on Next.

Select "Let me choose my own key" or "Choose a passkey for me" and click on Next.

it will now display the passkey. Key this into the cell phone. Now the laptop is initiating to install the Bluetooth device. (Click Yes as you see the prompt message on the cell phone to allow connection with the laptop.)

Click on the Finish button to close the dialog box of Add Bluetooth Device Wizard.

The Bluetooth device (the cell phone) is now displayed in Bluetooth Devices dialog box. Select the Bluetooth device and click on the Properties button.

The Properties dialog box for the device will become visible. Choose the Services tab.

Check the boxes for the services you want.

In the end you can launch the items of the cell phone. Transfer photos, videos etc to cell phone via Bluetooth technology.

This method can also be used to connect laptop to Bluetooth devices like Bluetooth mouse, Bluetooth keyboard, Bluetooth headset, etc.

If you are clever enough, you can also use it on your desktop (if you have a bluetooth device of cause)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Defend Your Computer- Please!

Defending against viruses, crackers, spyware, Trojans and so forth is essential for anyone using the Internet. The number of security problems continues to escalate and this article discusses the measures that everyone should take to defend their computer.

It may seem repetitious to keep writing about computer security but, quite frankly, an awful lot of people either don't understand the problems or just ignore the subject. If the only damage that resulted was to those who took no precautions, that would be one thing. However, all of us are affected. For example, the whole Internet suffers from the much heavier load caused by all the traffic generated by worms being spread from those who get infected from carelessness or ignorance. I have seen one estimate that on some days half of all e-mail is worm related. Everybody has to waste time getting rid of the worm-carrying messages that pile up in the mail boxes. (And that is in addition to all the spam, which is another subject.) I get tired of receiving virus mail from infected people who happen to have my name in their address book and from their friends and friends of friends who got infected in turn. Even more irritating is the mail that goes out from these infected systems purporting to be sent by me, some of which is then bounced to me as undeliverable. For a while I was appearing to be a big tout for a Japanese porno shop. It can be virtually impossible to find out who the infected people are without having access to ISP logs. Sometimes these machines stay infected for months and keep on mailing out one virus-laden message after another under many different names. Somebody with a dial-up account at the now defunct ISP Nerc bombarded me (and many others no doubt) for months using a host of faked names. From the e-mail headers, I could get a time stamp and their various IP addresses (which of course were temporary) but Nerc refused to do anything about it.

nother problem to us all is that sometimes important web sites are brought down by malicious attacks that make use of Trojan horses planted on the machines of unwitting PC users. Even those who are careful can get caught because new worms and Trojans seem to come out every day and the malware authors are getting more and more clever at using tricks to get people to open infected mail. In addition, hackers are using Internet connections that are poorly guarded to plant Trojan horses directly on machines through open ports.

That was the bad news. The good news is that a typical home user can defend his or her computer with some straightforward precautions. The first line of defense is common sense. It utterly baffles me why otherwise intelligent people click on e-mail attachments from strangers who write in broken English. In fact, these days you should never click on any attachment, no matter what the source, unless you know for sure what it is. The source of e-mail is easily faked. That attachment from Aunt Matilda may be something she doesn't even know has been sent. She may have a Trojan horse. Send her an e-mail asking about it before opening. Or call her on your cell phone. Maybe you can help her clean up her computer. If dear old straitlaced Dad who is 85 years old suddenly sends you an e-mail about pictures of nubile young girls, alarm bells should go off and I don't mean about Dad. Anything that is out of character should be treated as a possible worm or Trojan. Also note that Microsoft and other software companies never send patches or updates by attaching them to e-mail.

In a related area, never give account numbers, passwords, or other sensitive personal information in reply to any e-mail. Such information should only be entered on secure web sites. Internet service providers, banks, stock brokers, and the like do not ask for personal information to be sent by e-mail. A scam technique called "phishing" is growing whereby various e-mail tactics are used to inveigle credit card numbers and account passwords out of gullible PC users. More information on "phishing" is available on another page.

Anti-virus programs

Vigilance and good judgment will avoid many problems but we also need to have some software guardians. Most people know that anti-virus software is a necessity and most computers come with some form of anti-virus program already installed. (By the term "virus" I will be referring to any type of malware including viruses, worms and Trojan horses.) All the major programs check e-mail as well as scanning your system. However, new viruses appear every day and anti-virus programs are only as good as their database or definitions of viruses. A program can't recognize a new virus unless it has been kept up to date. Anti-virus programs contain update features and these are automatic in the newer major programs. However, the big vendors like Symantec and McAfee no longer give unlimited free updates but start to charge after some initial period ranging from 3 months to 1 year. Very often people do not subscribe to the new updates and let their protection lapse. This leaves the computer open to any new virus that comes along. Personally, I am not keen on having to pay $15 or $20 a year to Symantec either but all things considered it is a relatively small operating cost. An alternative is one of the free programs like Grisoft's AVG. In the past, Symantec's Norton has always seemed to get much better reviews for efficacy against infection than the freebies but a recent review by the magazine PC World indicates that there are several free programs that now provide acceptable levels of protection. PC World also has a download site. I have no personal experience with it, but I have seen quite a few favorable comments about the AVG program. One way or another, however, it is essential to use an updated anti-virus program.


The second piece of defensive software that everybody should have is a firewall. Firewalls keep uninvited visitors from the Internet from accessing your computer. They also keep an eye on which programs on your computer try to make Internet connections. Unless they had a broadband Internet connection, I used to tell people that they probably did not need a firewall. However, hacking has reached the point where everyone, even those with dial-up connections, needs a firewall. My firewall keeps a log of attempts to probe my computer and once in a while I check it out of curiosity. The attempts are unceasing and come from all over the world. (I know because I look up some of the IPs.) Even my wife's dial-up AOL account is probed all the time. Many of these probes are not malicious but I see no reason to take chances on the good will of all these strangers.

The present version of Windows XP has half a firewall built in. Unfortunately, it monitors only incoming traffic and therefore is of no help in warning about programs on your computer that call up Internet sites without telling you. Also, note that that you have to specifically enable it. (Service Pack 2 turns it on by default.). I recommend a more robust program. If you want to, you can go for one of the commercial suites that include a firewall together with a variety of other programs. However, there are several very good free programs. I like and use ZoneAlarm but there are other good choices. The magazine PC World has a good discussion of firewalls.

Spyware and Trojan removers

Previously not quite as important but becoming more and more necessary is separate software specifically for removing spyware and other Trojans. This function is included in the better commercial suites. Good anti-virus programs should stop most Trojans but won't help with spyware. A firewall will warn you if something on your system tries to call out and alert you to many Trojans and spyware. However, if you download and install a lot of programs or you want another line of defense, you should get a separate program specifically for detecting and cleaning out Trojans and spyware. There are at least two good free programs, AdAware and Spybot Search and Destroy. For additional information on spyware go here.

Proper defense of your computer also involves some configuring of the system and regular application of security patches. I will discuss these measures next.

Windows Update

For a variety of reasons the Windows operating system has been far from optimum in the area of security. A large number of security holes have been found over the years. As time goes on, Microsoft plugs these holes but new ones keep being discovered. Microsoft has been issuing patches with numbing frequency. Windows XP comes with a feature that provides for downloading and installing this constant flow of updates but it has its problems. There is no room here to go into all the details but Window Update does not always work correctly (for just one example, see this link). Nor is it always as current as it should be. Not only that, but sometimes the patches break things and have to be re-patched. Another problem is that dial-up connections can be too slow for practical downloading of some patches. Microsoft has made a free CD available that contains the new service pack 2 for Windows XP.

Windows Update problems or no, there really isn't a good alternative for the average PC user. All critical updates should be applied, either from a CD or by downloading. To guard against problems from installing a patch, be sure to create a System Restore point before any installation. If something goes awry with an installation, then you can at least get back to where you started. The update feature has settings that will allow downloads to be automatic but dial-up users should probably configure the system to ask first before downloading. They can then be prepared for a long process if the file is large. Windows Update can be configured by going to Control Panel-Performance and Maintenance-System and clicking the tab "Automatic Updates". You can then choose from these options:

"Notify me before downloading any updates and notify me again before installing them on my computer" (best for dial-up)
"Download the updates automatically and notify me when they are ready to be installed"
"Automatically download the updates and install them on the schedule that I specify"

(Note: Installing SP2 modifies the above procedure for configuring updates.)

Configure System Settings

One line of defense against malware attachments in e-mail is to watch the file extensions carefully. So once more, I urge that the setting be made that allows file extensions to show. If you can see the extension, you can be aware when a file is of a type that is potentially dangerous.

Depending on what software you use for reading e-mail there may be other settings that help with guarding against attachments. If you use Outlook Express as your e-mail client, a tutorial showing how to make a variety of security settings is here.

Internet Explorer has a variety of security settings. Unfortunately, the defaults are not always the safest and some tweaking can make your system more secure. There are too many possible settings to go into here but here is a step-by-step procedure that gives many details.

Computer experts also suggest that you not use an account with administrative privileges for your routine activities. Rather, they suggest that you set up and use a separate account with limited rights. Then if a virus does get into your system, the damage it can do is limited.

Is the Internet Safe?

There are so many warnings and alarms about malware and other problems that some people wonder if it is safe to use the Internet at all. If the average PC user takes the precautions we have been discussing, there should be little cause to worry. Common sense alone will keep you out of many problems and the other measures we have discussed will protect you against the more subtle ones. The Internet is a wonderful thing and should be used to its fullest. Just don't be careless. If enough people take proper security measures, the chain reactions that we get from malware won't get started.

Source http://vlaurie.com

Saturday, September 11, 2010

All About Computer Viruses

Your computer is as slow as molasses. Your mouse freezes every 15 minutes, and that Microsoft Word program just won’t seem to open.

You might have a virus.

Just what exactly is a virus? What kind is in your computer? How did it get there? How is it spreading and wreaking such havoc? And why is it bothering with your computer anyway?

Viruses are pieces of programming code that make copies of themselves, or replicate, inside your computer without asking your explicit written permission to do so. Forget getting your permission down on paper. Viruses don’t bother to seek your permission at all! Very invasive.

In comparison, there are pieces of code that might replicate inside your computer, say something your IT guy thinks you need. But the code spreads, perhaps throughout your office network, with your consent (or at least your IT guy’s consent). These types of replicating code are called agents, said Jimmy Kuo, a research fellow with McAfee AVERT, a research arm of anti-virus software-maker McAfee Inc.

In this article, though, we’re not talking about the good guys, or the agents. We’ll be talking about the bad guys, the viruses.

A long, long time ago in computer years, like five, most viruses were comprised of a similar breed. They entered your computer perhaps through an email attachment or a floppy disk (remember those?). Then they attached themselves to one of your files, say your Microsoft Word program.

When you opened your Microsoft Word program, the virus replicated and attached itself to other files. These could be other random files on your hard drive, the files furthest away from your Microsoft Word program, or other files, depending on how the virus writer wanted the virus to behave.

This virus code could contain hundreds or thousands of instructions. When it replicates it inserts those instructions, into the files it infects, said Carey Nachenberg, Chief Architect at Symantec Research Labs, an arm of anti-virus software-maker Symantec. Corp.

Because so many other types of viruses exist now, the kind just described is called a classic virus. Classic viruses still exist but they’re not quite as prevalent as they used to be. (Perhaps we could put classic viruses on the shelf with Hemingway and Dickens.)

These days, in the modern era, viruses are known to spread through vulnerabilities in web browsers, files shared over the internet, emails themselves, and computer networks.

As far as web browsers are concerned, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer takes most of the heat for spreading viruses because it’s used by more people for web surfing than any other browser.

Nevertheless, “Any web browser potentially has vulnerabilities,” Nachenberg said.

For instance, let’s say you go to a website in IE you have every reason to think is safe, Nachenberg said.

But unfortunately it isn’t. It has virus code hidden in its background that IE isn’t protecting you from. While you’re looking at the site, the virus is downloaded onto your computer, he said. That’s one way of catching a nasty virus.

During the past two years, another prevalent way to catch a virus has been through downloads computer users share with one another, mostly on music sharing sites, Kuo said. On Limewire or Kazaa, for instance, teenagers or other music enthusiasts might think they’re downloading that latest Justin Timberlake song, when in reality they’re downloading a virus straight into their computer. It’s easy for a virus writer to put a download with a virus on one of these sites because everyone’s sharing with everyone else anyway.

Here’s one you might not have thought of. If you use Outlook or Outlook Express to send and receive email, do you have a preview pane below your list of emails that shows the contents of the email you have highlighted? If so, you may be putting yourself at risk.

Some viruses, though a small percentage according to Nachenberg, are inserted straight into emails themselves.

Forget opening the attachment. All you have to do is view the email to potentially get a virus, Kuo added. For instance, have you ever opened or viewed an email that states it’s “loading”? Well, once everything is “loaded,” a virus in the email might just load onto your computer.

So if I were you, I’d click on View on the toolbar in your Outlook or Outlook Express and close the preview pane. (You have to click on View and then Layout in Outlook Express.)

On a network at work? You could get a virus that way. Worms are viruses that come into your computer via networks, Kuo said. They travel from machine to machine and, unlike, the classic viruses, they attack the machine itself rather than individual files.

Worms sit in your working memory, or RAM,

Nachenberg said.

OK, so we’ve talked about how the viruses get into a computer. How do they cause so much damage once they’re there?

Let’s say you’ve caught a classic virus, one that replicates and attacks various files on your computer. Let’s go back to the example of the virus that initially infects your Microsoft Word program.

Well, it might eventually cause that program to crash, Nachenberg said. It also might cause damage to your computer as it looks for new targets to infect.

This process of infecting targets and looking for new ones could eventually use up your computer’s ability to function, he said.

Often the destruction a virus causes is pegged to a certain event or date and time, called a trigger. For instance, a virus could be programmed to lay dormant until January 28. When that date rolls around, though, it may be programmed to do something as innocuous but annoying as splash popups on your screen, or something as severe as reformat your computer’s hard drive, Nachenberg said.

There are other potential reasons, though, for a virus to cause your computer to be acting slow or in weird ways. And that leads us to a new segment – the reason virus writers would want to waste their time creating viruses in the first place.

The majority of viruses are still written by teenagers looking for some notoriety, Nachenberg said. But a growing segment of the virus-writing population has other intentions in mind.

For these other intentions, we first need to explain the “backdoor” concept.

The sole purpose of some viruses is to create a vulnerability in your computer. Once it creates this hole of sorts, or backdoor, it signals home to mama or dada virus writer (kind of like in E.T.). Once the virus writer receives the signal, they can use and abuse your computer to their own likings.

Trojans are sometimes used to open backdoors. In fact that is usually their sole purpose, Kuo said.

Trojans are pieces of code you might download onto your computer, say, from a newsgroup. As in the Trojan War they are named after, they are usually disguised as innocuous pieces of code. But Trojans aren’t considered viruses because they don’t replicate.

Now back to the real viruses. Let’s say we have Joe Shmo virus writer. He sends out a virus that ends up infecting a thousand machines. But he doesn’t want the feds on his case. So he instructs the viruses on the various machines to send their signals, not of course to his computer, but to a place that can’t be traced. Hotmail email happens to be an example of one such place, Kuo said.

OK, so the virus writers now control these computers. What will they use them for?

One use is to send spam. Once that backdoor is open, they bounce spam off of those computers and send it to other machines, Nachenberg said.

That’s right. Some spam you have in your email right now may have been originally sent to other innocent computers before it came to yours so that it could remain in disguise. If the authorities could track down the original senders of spam, they could crack down on spam itself. Spam senders don’t want that.

Ever heard of phishing emails? Those are the ones that purport to be from your internet service provider or bank. They typically request some information from you, like your credit card number. The problem is, they’re NOT from your internet service provider or your bank. They’re from evil people after your credit card number! Well, these emails are often sent the same way spam is sent, by sending them via innocent computers.

Of course makers of anti-virus software use a variety of methods to combat the onslaught of viruses. Norton, for instance, uses signature scanning, Nachenberg said.

Signature scanning is similar to the process of looking for DNA fingerprints, he said. Norton examines programming code to find what viruses are made of. It adds those bad instructions it finds to its large database of other bad code. Then it uses this vast database to seek out and match the code in it with similar code in your computer. When it finds such virus code, it lets you know!

©2004 by Kara Glover

Feel Free to reprint this article in newsletters and on websites, with resource box included. If you use this article, please send a brief message to let me know where it appeared: kara333@earthlink.net

Kara Glover is a Computer Tutor and Troubleshooter. You can find her articles and tutorials on topics such as Microsoft Word®, Excel®, and PowerPoint® on her website: http://www.karathecomputertutor.com/


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Google updates IE plug-in Chrome Frame

Open source plug-in works in Microsoft IE6, IE7 and IE8

By Gregg Keizer | Computerworld US
Published: 12:34 GMT, 09 June 10

Google updated Chrome Frame, a plug-in that embeds the company's Chrome browser engine into rival Microsoft's Internet Explorer, to a beta version.

Chrome Frame debuted last September, prompting rivals Microsoft and Mozilla to blast the move. The open source plug-in can be used with Internet Explorer 6, IE7 and IE8.

The beta is powered by the current beta version of Chrome for Windows, 5.0.375.62, but will be updated as Chrome is refreshed. Additionally, the "dev channel" edition of Chrome Frame was revamped today to keep it in sync with that build of Google's browser.

Google fixes bug in Calendar

As it did last year, Google cast Chrome Frame today as a way for IE users to instantly boost the notoriously slow JavaScript speed of their browser and let them access sites and Web applications that rely on standards that IE doesn't support, primarily HTML5.

"Chrome Frame is an attempt to move the Web forward," Alex Russell, an engineer on the Chrome Frame development team, told Computerworld. "We're excited that it's ready for broader use and want to get it out there to target [users] who aren't able to use HTML5."

HTML5, the still-under-construction next generation of the Web's foundation language, has become a flashpoint -- and buzzword -- in the increasingly competitive browser market as makers rush to support the standard, especially its video tag that lets Web site designers embed video.

Apple, for example, has been aggressively promoting HTML5 as a substitute for Adobe's Flash, which Apple has banned from its iPhone and iPad.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has been trumpeting the support for HTML5 it's baking into IE9, which has no firm release date and is now at a rough developer preview stage.

Google has been promoting HTML5 just as hard. Last month, for example, Google debuted a new royalty-free video codec that will compete with the H.264 codec that Apple's backing for HTML5.

"We'd like to keep everyone bunched toward the front of the [standards] compatibility edge," said Russell as he further explained why Google is pushing Chrome Frame.

Even though Microsoft is working on IE9, and promising that its next browser will support HTML 5, the problem is that users often stick with outdated versions of IE for years, added Russell.

"And the fact that Microsoft's chosen not to support IE9 for older versions of Windows, like Windows XP, means that IE8 is the end of the road for [XP users]. They'll be in the same situation [in the future] as IE6 users are [now]," he said.

Microsoft may be pushing to end IE6's reign, but it's not conceding anything to Google. Last week, Ryan Gavin, Microsoft's director of platform strategies and the executive in charge of driving down the aged browser's market share, claimed that IE8 was gaining more ground that Google's Chrome in the U.S.

"We're already seeing Chrome in retreat," Gavin said.

Contrary to fears expressed by Mozilla executives last year when Chrome Frame debuted, Google has no intention of releasing a similar plug-in for Firefox, Russell said.

Although such a plug-in is possible, he said, "We didn't release it [and] it's not something that we expect to use."

And Russell dismissed Microsoft's complaints of last year, when IE's maker argued that Google Frame would effectively double users' security problems because they would have to keep two browser platforms up to date.

"The real problem is that Web developers have to target the lowest-common denominator," Russell said, citing the example of the nearly-nine-year-old IE6.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Microsoft's alleged click fraud launderers maintain innocence

Beta customers named in two click fraud lawsuits Microsoft filed this week maintain their innocence, and both say they assisted the software giant in investigating the source of the problem.

On Wednesday, Microsoft held a press conference featuring its general counsel, senior attorney of its digital crimes unit, an independent consultant, a Harvard professor and an executive from an advertising industry group. The Microsoft executives detailed what they said is a new kind of click fraud, "click laundering," and said the company had filed two lawsuits against people employing the technique.

Microsoft alleges that defendants used botnets and other techniques to drive traffic to their own servers, where they scraped out the traffic-referring information and replaced it with code that made it look like the traffic came directly to their sites.

While the company HelloMetro was not named as a defendant in either of the suits, it was cited as the publisher of sites receiving inordinate numbers of clicks.

"During the brief 4 weeks last year we participated in Microsoft's Beta, we volunteered information to Microsoft to help locate some suspected sites and companies," said Clark Scott, CEO of HelloMetro, in a statement. "That is why we are not listed as a Defendant here. We may be asked to submit what we have found to pursue those John Does."

Microsoft named 20 John Does as defendants in the suit, meaning it doesn't know who is responsible for the fraud.

But RedOrbit says it also helped Microsoft investigate the fraud. "We turned over log files" and other details that Microsoft requested as it sought to discover the source of a dramatic spike in clicks to RedOrbit, said Eric Ralls, RedOrbit's president, who is also named as a defendant in the suit.

Microsoft executives pointed their fingers at RedOrbit because "we feel confident that the person who would profit is RedOrbit," said Richard Boscovich, senior attorney of Microsoft's digital crimes unit. It's unclear why Microsoft didn't name HelloMetro as a defendant for similar reasons.

Yet, RedOrbit didn't profit, Ralls said. "They had paid us no money. We didn't get a dime from those clicks. We have not profited in any way from this at all," he said.

Ralls said that his lawyer, retained this week after news of the lawsuits surfaced, has instructed him to say little more. "We do not, nor have we ever, engaged, assisted in, or condoned click fraud," Ralls said in a statement. "We are disappointed that Microsoft has made these completely baseless allegations, and intend to defend against them vigorously."

Both RedOrbit and HelloMetro were beta customers of Microsoft's AdCenter program. AdCenter is Microsoft's answer to Google's AdSense, the market-leading advertising platform.

There are some curious aspects of the case, said Richard Sim, vice president, product management and marketing at Anchor Intelligence. For instance, Microsoft said that the average clicks per day on RedOrbit's site grew from 75 to 10,000 in a matter of weeks.

"When I saw that, to me it signaled that the person behind this scheme was very unsophisticated because that's a sure sign that something's going wrong," Sim said. "That did surprise me, that if this was perpetrated by one individual that they'd use such a rudimentary approach." Most ad platforms would suspect fraud after such a dramatic spike in traffic.

Yet Microsoft characterized this kind of fraud as sophisticated. "There's been lots of talk about whether this is technically possible," said Boscovich. It's the first time Microsoft has seen this kind of fraud, which it previously thought was impossible to do, he said.

It's possible, though rare, that such spikes happen without the involvement of the site owner. For instance, a competitor might maliciously send huge volumes of traffic to another site as a way to try to get the site blacklisted by its ad platform, Sim said.

Microsoft is the underdog in this market and seemed to be using the lawsuits as a way to paint itself as the most honest of the ad platform providers.

"We and every other company in the industry has to recognize that we have a choice. We can either take aggressive steps to stop this fraud or look the other way and make money from it. We don't think looking the other way should be an option," said Brad Smith, general counsel at Microsoft, during Wednesday's event.
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Microsoft noted that it has filed three click fraud suits. The experts around the table said that they were aware of one Google suit that was quickly dropped and zero Yahoo suits.

But Microsoft has a history of using lawsuits to fight fraud and has often done so successfully, Sim said. "I think the approach Microsoft took to fighting spam is similar to what they're doing in click fraud," he said. Microsoft used technology tools, industry collaboration and civil lawsuits to combat spam, Sim said. "That was effective because for the industry as a whole it sent the message that they are willing to invest and enforce violations against spam policies. They send a message to the perpetrators that they can't get away with this," he said.

That's exactly what Microsoft said it is trying to do. "We're sending a clear message here and that's that we don't tolerate this," said Boscovich.

It is very early in Microsoft's ad platform and so it may be trying to ensure from the very beginning that fraud isn't a problem. "For them, click fraud hasn't been a big pain point to date," Sim said.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Yahoo Satellite Maps Downloader 5.19

Yahoo's online maps combine many small, highly detailed images into larger views with interactive feature like the ability to zoom and rotate the image. Allallsoft's Yahoo Satellite Maps Downloader is a small but capable tool that you can use to select and download Yahoo satellite images and put them together into highly accurate, highly detailed interactive maps. Multithread technology downloads large geographical information files quickly, and it saves images to your hard drive or other destination for immediate use or to be used later to create other maps. It only downloads Yahoo satellite map images. For regular Yahoo maps or other mapping sites, you'll need one of Allallsoft's related tools.

Yahoo Satellite Maps Downloader has an attractive and efficient interface that keeps things simple. You need to understand map coordinates to use it, but the program makes it easy, and there's a Help file if you need it. To create custom maps, you define the boundaries of the region, select Zoom and Thread Count levels, and press Download. Yahoo Satellite Maps Downloader quickly retrieves and assembles the parts into an interactive satellite map view. Maps on Yahoo are for personal purposes only, so if you need commercial images, a geographical information system (GIS) package or image service may be a better choice. For nearly every other use, though, it's a great choice.

Yahoo Satellite Maps Downloader is free to try, but the Zoom function is limited to a maximum level of 6. It's certified for versions of Windows up to Vista.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Google Chrome

Google has released the beta version of a new browser, Chrome. In its comic-book preannouncement, Google stated correctly that watching videos, chatting, and even playing Web-based games didn't exist when browsers were first invented. Google wants the browser to help users focus on the applications and pages they are viewing, rather than on browser toolbars and buttons. Google has rethought the Internet browser--some of its basic underpinnings are quite novel--but users will recognize some features as they exist in other, open-source browsers on the market today.

At the moment, only the Windows version of Chrome is available for download. Plans call for Mac OS X and Linux versions in the near future. That said, Google has released Chrome in 43 languages and in 122 countries.

Chrome is based on the open-source project Webkit, the same rendering engine used by Apple Safari. If a page renders in Safari, it will render in Chrome. Webkit is also the basis for Android, Google's mobile platform, so it seems that Google is planning to use Chrome in mobile environments.

The interface in Chrome is very different from other browsers and takes a little getting used to. Instead of the traditional Netscape/IE-style toolbar across the top, Chrome puts tabs across the top. Moreover, the tabs are detachable, so the terms "tabs" and "windows" become interchangeable within Chrome. Detached tabs can be dragged and dropped into the browser, and tabs can be rearranged at any time.

New tab pages display your nine most visited Web pages, as well as the searches you perform most, and your most recent bookmarks. Within each tab are individual controls, such as forward and back buttons. Missing is the search box. Instead, Chrome sports a hybrid address bar, which Google calls the Omnibox. The Omnibox includes not only suggestions for URLs culled from your browser's history, but it also includes search suggestions from Google. URL Auto completion in Chrome is for top-level domains, not just some individual page you last visited on a site. There are also other neat additional elements; for example, if you go to Amazon and type within its search box to find a book or CD, Chrome remembers that Amazon search and when it next suggests the Amazon URL in the Omnibox, it also include a link to Amazon's search box.

Application Shortcuts is a feature that allows you to create desktop icons for Web-only applications, such as Gmail or Calendar.

And there's a stealth mode, as well. Like IE8 InPrivate, Chrome has its own incognito mode. The Incognito window looks different: it's darker and has a little detective character in the upper left corner to help you remember it's not remembering the Web sites you visit. Although the Omnibox in Incognito has access to the regular Chrome history, everything typed into that stealth tab will be erased when you exit, as though you were never there.

Chrome deals with pop-up dialogues in a novel way. Pop-ups associated with a Web page appear within that page's tab, so if you want to see a pop-up in greater detail, just drag it out into its own new window. This carries over to downloads as well. Instead of using a pop-up dialogue, downloads are shunted to the bottom of the tab frame where you can monitor or interact with them if you wish.

GTA vice city

Rockstar's juggernaut Grand Theft Auto series debuted on the PlayStation Portable late last year in Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, a side-story prequel to the events that took place in Grand Theft Auto III for the PlayStation 2. With Liberty City Stories, Rockstar successfully translated its open-ended world of crime to a handheld system, though not without a few missteps. Enter Vice City Stories, the newly released PSP GTA game that follows a similar side-story formula. Vice City Stories improves upon some of the flaws found in the first game, not the least of which is improved length and direction, as well as a great deal more personality. The story's still pretty subpar, though, and as much as this is very much Grand Theft Auto, certain conventions of the series are starting to feel a bit antiquated. Still, if you want to roam around a large city, shooting up the place and driving like a crazy person, few games on the PSP let you do that as well as this one does.

Return to the soft neon glow of Vice City in GTA: Vice City Stories.

Vice City Stories returns to the pastel- and neon-colored excesses of the 1980s and Vice City. Modeled after '80s-era Miami, GTA: Vice City told a Scarface-inspired tale of Tommy Vercetti, a shunned mobster who found himself sifting through the aftermath of a cocaine deal gone wrong, and subsequently ended up building a major criminal empire throughout the city. It was a bizarre, convoluted, and completely entertaining tale, filled with ridiculous and profane characters, as well as lots of biting satire on the most superficial of decades. Vice City Stories is, again, a prequel, taking place a couple of years prior to the original game. You play as Vic Vance, the brother of central Vice City character Lance Vance. Vic's a strange fellow. When the game begins, he's just joined the army, and he gets off the transport truck at a military base in Vice City. Upon meeting his commanding officer--a borderline psychotic named Jerry Martinez--things start going wrong. We find out that Vic has joined the military to make some money to support his family, specifically his sick brother. But within the first few minutes of the game, you'll find yourself inexplicably picking up drugs for Martinez, killing Mexican gang members, and chauffeuring prostitutes.

Of course, any veteran of this series won't be shocked one bit by missions like these. The trouble here is that the setup for getting Vic into this mess is beyond flimsy. From the get-go, Vic talks about how uncomfortable he is with illegal activities, and yet he does every single illicit thing Martinez asks him to do. If you're someone who doesn't want to do anything illegal, and your boss starts asking you to pick up hookers and hide drugs for him, are you going to just gripe about it and then do it anyway? Not to mention that Vic seems completely willing to run into an apartment complex and start wasting Mexicans without even being ordered specifically to do so. He just says, "I'll go get it" (referring to owed money stashed inside one of the apartments) and goes in guns blazing. GTA heroes are never heroes, exactly, but the trick in the past has been that there's been no attempt to play those characters up as sympathetic. They weren't boy scouts--they were gangsters, killers, and dope dealers. Vice City Stories tries to present Vic as a guy who doesn't want to get into that stuff, yet he freely and frequently does throughout the entire game. He mostly comes off as a hypocritical idiot.

For what it's worth, though, once you get through about the first hour of the game, you'll probably be inclined to stop questioning why Vic is doing what he's doing and just go with it. As time passes, the game settles into the typical progression of GTA missions and oddball characters. While Liberty City Stories was almost devoid of memorable characters, Vice City Stories digs up a few favorites from the original Vice City, and introduces a couple of new ones as well. Vic's mildly crazy brother Lance, the alcoholic gun nut Phil Cassidy, the balls-obsessed Cuban gang leader Umberto Robina, and the foul-mouthed Ricardo Diaz (voiced by Phillip Michael Thomas, Gary Busey, Danny Trejo, and Luis Guzman, respectively) are all back. Lance plays a huge role in the story, but the others aren't quite as prominently featured as they were in the first game. Still, you get a good chunk of time with each of them.

Functionally, Vice City Stories plays very much as Liberty City Stories did. The same basic control adjustments made in the previous game to make up for the lack of a right analog stick on the PSP are made here. When running around and shooting people, you simply press the right trigger to lock onto an enemy. Occasionally the game will lock onto random civilians, as opposed to the guy with the submachine gun blowing a hole in your head, but usually it's pretty good about identifying exactly whom you should be killing. Camera control is mapped to the left trigger, and basically all you can do is whip it behind you if you get too turned around. This will lead to occasional scenarios where you're being shot from behind and have to take a couple of extra seconds to turn your character, and then the camera, to see where to shoot.

Mostly, though, the combat is quite fun. Running around causing mayhem and blasting away at the masses is just as enjoyable as it's ever been, and there's a good variety of guns and other instruments of destruction to play with. The one part that isn't so good, unfortunately, is the melee combat. Basic fisticuffs and blunt-object beatings are merely a bit clunky, but if you try to get yourself into a fight while holding a gun at close range to someone punching you in the face, you'll lose every time, unless you run a good distance away, turn back, and start firing. For some reason, the game just can't deal with aiming mechanics while you're face-to-face with an enemy; you're basically hosed.

It's hard to feel too sympathetic to Vic Vance, since he seems incapable of keeping himself out of trouble, despite the fact that he whines about it at every turn.

Vice City is a sizable open-world environment, and driving around it can be a bit overwhelming at first. Odds are that unless you've had Vice City regularly inserted in your PS2 for the last couple of years, you won't remember too much of the city's layout. But even though it'll take a while to figure out all the roads and side streets, there's plenty of familiar scenery and landmarks that appear just about where you remember them. The game's minimap is about as useful as it's ever been in depicting where you are, and there is a larger map to check on in the pause menu. Still, it feels a bit antiquated, especially considering evolutions we've seen in recent games of this type, where the best possible paths for a mission are highlighted on the map. Heck, even an arrow pointer telling you where to turn would be nice.

Driving in the game is pretty much as it's been for years now. The vehicle physics are perhaps a bit more exaggerated than they were in Liberty City Stories, and that's both a blessing and a curse. It's extremely easy to spin out while taking turns in many of the game's cars, trucks, and motorcycles, but at the same time, some of the jumps and ridiculous crashes you can have make those wacked-out physics worthwhile. You will run into weird physics glitches from time to time, and you'll sometimes get stuck in pieces of the scenery. These issues aren't exactly new to the series, but they're as annoying as ever. In addition to cars and bikes, helicopters make their return in Vice City Stories, and they're among some of the most enjoyable vehicles in the game. The flying controls are surprisingly easy to handle, even with the lack of a right analog stick, and flying around the city is often much quicker than trying to drive it.

Canon PowerShot A495 (red)

Canon updated 2009's PowerShot A480 by splitting it into two models: the A490 and the A495. The PowerShot A490 is about $20 less expensive than the A495, but it's only available in silver; has a 5-point Face AiAF autofocus system instead of the A495's 9-point; does not have Face Self-Timer (explained later in this review) or Canon's two, new creative shooting modes, Super Vivid and Poster Effect; and uses 13 scene settings for its Smart Auto mode whereas the A495 uses 18.

Regardless of those differences, they both turn out great photos for their budget price tags (though the A495 seemed to get negligibly better results in Auto mode). The biggest downside is that they aren't remotely fast when it comes to shooting performance; shot-to-shot times are particularly long. But, if you're strapped for cash and want a pocket camera, the A495 is certainly worth the money for its photos alone. The extra shooting modes are nice, too, but if you don't need them or any of the other things mentioned above, save $20 and get the A490.

Key specs Canon PowerShot A495
Price (MSRP) $129.99
Dimensions (WHD) 3.7x2.4x1.2 inches
Weight (with battery and media) 6.7 ounces
Megapixels, image sensor size, type 10 megapixels, 1/2.3-inch CCD
LCD size, resolution/viewfinder 2.5-inch LCD, 115K dots/None
Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length) 3.3x, f3-5.8, 37-122mm (35mm equivalent)
File format (still/video) JPEG/Motion JPEG (.AVI)
Highest resolution size (still/video) 3,648x2,736 pixels/ 640x480 at 30fps
Image stabilization type Digital
Battery type, CIPA rated life AA-size alkaline (2), 150 shots
Battery charged in camera No; alkaline batteries supplied
Storage media SD, SDHC, SDXC memory cards
Bundled software ZoomBrowser EX 6.5/PhotoStitch 3.1 (Windows); ImageBrowser 6.5/PhotoStitch 3.2 (Mac)

The A495, which is available in red, blue, and silver, is chubby, but still reasonably compact. It's not very wide or tall, but is more than an inch thick, so though it'll fit in a pants pocket, it might be a tight squeeze. From the front, the camera looks reasonably stylish with nice rounded corners. Unlike the A480, the buttons don't feel cheap and are clearly marked in white on black. In fact, the overall build seems improved. Plus, Canon kept the controls straightforward and simple, and the menu systems are likewise uncomplicated.

On top are the power and shutter release buttons with the remaining controls on back to the right of the LCD. At the top is a zoom rocker followed down by a button for playback; four-way control pad with select button; and shooting mode and Menu buttons. The Menu button pulls up two tabs of general settings, whereas the select button (labeled Func. Set) opens shooting-mode-specific options. Overall, it's easy to control and should be simple enough for beginners out of the box.

The lens is narrow at a 35mm-equivalent of 37mm and it has an optical zoom of 3.3x; standard for cameras in its class. The LCD, though a decent size, is fairly low resolution; it gets fairly bright, but it can still be tough to see in direct sunlight.

This model is powered by AA-size batteries, something many people find convenient. However, you'll only get about 150 shots out of the A495 before they'll need replacing. Getting two NiMH AA-size batteries should more than double your shot count, though.

General shooting options Canon PowerShot A495
ISO sensitivity (full resolution) Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,600
White balance Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom
Recording modes Auto, Program, Special Scene, Movie
Focus modes Normal, Macro, Infinity, Face AiAF, Center AF
Metering modes Evaluative, Center-weighted average, Spot
Color effects Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Custom
Burst mode shot limit (full resolution) Unlimited continuous

The A495 predictably doesn't have a lot of shooting options. The most complicated it gets is in Program, which gives you options for white balance, focus, metering, ISO, and color effects. Don't want to touch any of those things? Canon's Smart Auto (simply called Auto now) is very reliable at picking the appropriate settings based on 18 different scene types. Or you can choose from one of 13 special scene modes like Fireworks, Long Shutter, Foliage, or Kids & Pets. Canon renamed its High ISO mode to Low Light to alleviate confusion, but it's otherwise the same, capturing 2-megapixel shots at ISOs from 500 to 3,200. The highlights are new Super Vivid and Poster Effect modes. (They're appropriately named and you can see a sample of them in use in the slideshow in this review.) Canon also includes Face Self-Timer, which, when activated, will wait to take a shot until the camera detects an additional face in the frame. If you like taking a lot of close-up macro shots, the A495 is a great option for the money. You can get very close--down to 0.4 inch--and the autofocus seems improved from the A480, which struggled to properly focus.

The Movie mode is VGA only with no use of the optical zoom while recording. The video quality is good, on par with a standard-definition pocket video camera. It's fine for a quick clip to post online, but not much else

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Serials 2005

Serials 2005 is a new incarnation of the old Serials 2000 and may be the ultimate way of keeping track of serial numbers. Serials 2005 is the best way of keeping track of all your registration numbers. When you buy a program, you can either save the emails or pieces of paper with your registration code, or you can enter them in Serials 2005 and have it keep track of your numbers for you!
Update Intervals

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

FotoMix. photo manipulation software

FotoMix enables you to mix and blend pictures to achieve greenscreen/bluescreen effects. It allows you to blend a person or object from one photo into another background by simply painting over the areas you want to become transparent and then inserting the object into a new background. You can also use the software to remove or replace backgrounds, create photo collages, blend multiple images into one, and for many other fun projects. Once you have created the initial composition, you can fine-tune it with a variety of effect brushes and adjustments that allow you to smooth and blend edges, apply tint, adjust colors and more. You can get even more creative with the help of several artistic tools that let you deform the subject (caricature effects), add text overlays and apply image filters to achieve a unique result. FotoMix is easy to use and other than some creative inspiration, it does not require any graphic editing skills. The result can be saved as project file or exported as JPG image. (Note: The sample project shows a watermark example, there is no watermark added to your custom projects.)

DivX For Windows 7

DivX 7 for Windows 7.2 is a Video Player product from divx.com, get 5 Stars SoftSea Rating, DivX 7 for Windows is a free download that provides everything you need to enjoy high-quality digital videos on your computer, including HD H.264 (.mkv) videos with AAC audio and videos created using all previous versions of DivX technology. You can also play your DivX files (.divx, .avi) on millions of DivX Certified devices today. Look for DivX Plus HD Certified devices later this year that will support playback of all DivX and DivX Plus files, as well as .mkv (H.264/AAC) videos from the Internet.

DivX for Windows requires Windows XP or Vista (32-bit).

In addition to playback of any DivX video, DivX 7 for Windows enables you to watch H.264 (.mkv) files, the new standard for true HD digital video. The DivX 7 for Windows download includes: DivX Player to watch HD videos on your PC; DivX Community Codec and Filters to watch HD videos in your favorite program media player; DivX Web Player to watch DivX videos in your web browser; DivX Converter (15-day trial) to convert to DivX video in one easy step; DivX Pro Codec (15-day trial) to create DivX videos in your favorite video editing applications. Users may purchase DivX Pro 7 for Windows ($19.99 USD) to receive unlimited use of the DivX Converter and DivX Pro Codec. DivX playback is always free.

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Microsoft: Blu-ray costs holding PS3 back

Is Blu-ray the root of Sony's troubles in the gaming space? Aaron Greenberg, Microsoft's director of product management, seems to think so.

Speaking to Edge magazine in a recent interview, Greenberg said that because "Sony bet on the physical disc" for entertainment, it's facing "associated costs" that might be holding the PlayStation 3 back.

Is Blu-ray to blame for PS3 woes?
(Credit: Sony)

"The fact that we're able to offer a console starting at $199 is a benefit of not being burdened with that cost," Greenberg told Edge. "Being $100 cheaper is part of the reason why we're nearly twice [Sony's] installed base."

Greenberg was also quick to point out that Microsoft offers HD movies and television shows through Xbox Live.

Whether or not Blu-ray is really the reason Sony is trailing Microsoft is decidedly up for debate. Price has been a thorn in Sony's side since the release of the PlayStation 3. Due to powerful components, including but not limited to Blu-ray, the company was forced to keep the PS3's price high for a substantial period of time.

But once Sony announced the PS3 Slim and its $299 price tag in August, sales started taking off. In fact, The NPD Group reported recently that Sony tallied 30 percent year-over-year sales growth in February.

Going forward, some analysts believe Sony, not Microsoft or Nintendo, will lead this console generation. Analysts at Strategic Analytics said in a report last week that they expect the PlayStation 3 to have a longer shelf life than competing console, which should help it enjoy commercial success "five years after the Wii has been replaced."

I guess we'll just have to wait and see. But for now, isolating Blu-ray as Sony's problem might be just more posturing on Microsoft's part.


Microsoft modernizes Web ambitions with IE9

For those who doubted that Microsoft was serious in its effort to re-engage with the Web, it's time to put the skepticism aside.

At its Mix conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Microsoft gave programmers, Web developers, and the world at large a taste of things to come with its Web browser. Specifically, Microsoft released what it's calling the Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview, a prototype that's designed to show off the company's effort to improve how the browser deals with the Web as it exists today and, just as important, to add support for new Web technologies that are coming right now.

The new software is only a framework, raw enough that it's still missing a "back" button. But with "a few" updated preview versions set to arrive at eight-week intervals, the project will develop into a beta, a release candidate, and eventually the full-fledged product IE9, said Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of Internet Explorer and the executive who'll describe the project at Mix.

Coming in the new version is support for new Web standards including plug-in-free video; better performance with graphics, text, and JavaSript by taking advantage of modern computing hardware; and a new effort at gathering and responding to feedback from those using the prototype software, Hachamovitch said.

Dean Hachamovitch, IE general manager

IE9 is months from release, but already it holds the potential to alter the browser market. Not only could it reinvigorate competition with a host of new rivals, it could help usher in the cloud computing era that some of those rivals are eager to embrace. In that era, the Web transforms from a foundation for static documents and Web sites into a foundation for interactive programs.

IE6, released in 2001 when Microsoft had won the browser wars of the 1990s, still is widely used today. It's loathed among Web developers who want to use more modern Web technologies, and despite the release of IE8 a year ago, Microsoft is still saddled with a reputation as a company behind the browser curve. Mozilla's Firefox now accounts for nearly a quarter of usage, Google's Chrome has burst onto the scene and now is in third place, while Internet Explorer continues to gradually lose its share of usage.

With IE9, though, Microsoft is trying to rebuild the browser for the Web that's to come through new standards such as HTML5 and CSS3, updates to Hypertext Markup Language for describing Web pages and Cascading Style Sheets for formatting.

The software caught the attention of Microsoft's biggest browser rival. "IE9 looks great, very glad to see it. Congrats to the IE team!" said Mike Shaver, vice president of engineering at Firefox backer Mozilla, in a tweet.


Firefox 3.0 reaching end of the line

A few months later than expected, Mozilla is calling it quits for version 3.0 of its Firefox browser.

"There will be no more updates for Firefox 3.0.x," Mozilla said Tuesday in a meeting planning document. The last update will be Firefox 3.0.19, due March 30, according to the Mozilla Wiki page. Mozilla started building the new version after some last-minute security fixes over the weekend.

Mozilla had planned to discontinue support for Firefox 3.0 in January, but the browser got a lifespan extension after Firefox 3.6 arrived later than planned.

The move reflects a gradual shift toward upgrading browsers more frequently, not just to keep up with new features, but also to free up resources otherwise spent on testing and maintaining older browsers and to reduce security risks associated with them. Google is even more aggressive: its Chrome browser updates automatically in the background by default, and it calls new releases "milestones" to be passed rather than version numbers to be attained.

Microsoft issues frequent patches to its browsers but sees things differently when it comes to longer-term issues. It still maintains support for Internet Explorer 6, introduced in 2001. "We are excited for people to move on. We want people to move on," IE General Manager Dean Hachamovitch said in an interview this week for the IE9 Platform Preview launch, but meanwhile, providing security updates is the "responsible" thing to do.

Browsers are a fast-moving, increasingly important, technology and are central to the shift toward cloud computing. But there's a tension between organizations and people, for whom change can be a technical challenge or an expensive compatibility-breaking problem. Compatibility with standards can ease these transitions, but Web standards are in flux and aren't uniformly supported either with browsers or Web sites.

Mozilla released Firefox 3.0 with great fanfare in June 2008, and it's been patched as 3.0.18. Firefox 3.6 is the current supported version, and, of course, future work is under way. Mozilla has released two public alphas of its successor, which is called 3.7 for now though that's not necessarily the final name.

In the nearer term, Mozilla also preparing a Firefox 3.6 update called Lorentz. Mozilla had hoped for a beta release of Lorentz. But its chief feature--the out-of-process plug-ins (OOPP) design aimed to reduce crashes by putting Flash Player and its like into a separate memory compartment--is proving thorny. In addition,
Mozilla programmers have only just begun the OOPP work for Mac OS X.