Saturday, November 19, 2011

Editorial Review of a-Squared HiJackFree

No matter how much anti-spyware protection you've got on your PC, it's not enough. Spyware is notorious for being able to slip through the cracks of anti-malware software, and you're best off if you have more than one anti-malware tool on your PC. That's where this freebie comes in. Use it as a backup to your main anti-spyware program for extra protection.
It doesn't offer "live" protection like some other programs. Instead, use it to examine your system, to see if it's been infected, then kill the malware. It's a surprisingly powerful tool, and with far more features than we can cover here.
But here are the basics: Run it and click the Online Analysis button, and it will check your system for malware, and issue a report online. If it finds any nasties, it will tell you. If the program finds malware, it can walk you through removing it.
There's plenty more here as well, including tools for viewing what programs are using your TCP ports, and examining programs that run on startup. For a free program, it's surprisingly powerful.
Note: The vendor states that this software's functionality is limited on 64-bit systems.

a-Squared HiJackFree

  • Version: 
  • License Type: Free
  • Price: Free
  • Operating Systems:  Windows XP, Vista & 7          
  • File Size: 1.719 MB

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Your Next Computer Intel’s Ultrabook

A new type of laptop is headed our way. It’s ultra-thin, ultra-light, ultra-desirable and not that expensive either. Harsimran Julka and Hitesh Raj Bhagat have the details on Intel’s new wonder child

Worldwide PC shipments are expected to grow by just 2.8% in 2011, a downgrade from the previous forecast of 4.2%, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC). This is worrying for PC makers and especially Intel, the world’s largest manufacturer of PC chips. This is why Intel devised a whole new platform of notebooks, designed from the ground up to be sleeker, lighter and more desirable.

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The word Ultrabook is an Intel trademark. Ultrabooks are ultra-light and sleek notebooks with Intel's Core i5 and i7 processors, they weigh less than 1.4kg and are less than 20 mm thick (see Intel’s Ultrabook checklist on the right). The form factor was devised by Intel as a strong competitor to Apple’s Macbook Air, but at a cheaper price point. Paul Otellini, Intel’s president and CEO sums it up nicely; “The Ultrabook is our most satisfying and complete computer experience. It's lighter, sleeker and lasts long with a single charge so that you can carry it almost anywhere.”
Not only does the Ultrabook form factor have to compete with the MacBook Air, but also with the tablet, which a lot of consumers are seeing as a viable, everyday alternative to a bulky notebook computer. Other desirable features include a lower power consumption (Ultrabooks use ULV or ultra low voltage Intel processors) and a design that has to be at least 20mm or less. “We’re fairly optimistic about Ultrabooks and have noticed an increased demand for this sort of form factor,” said Rajesh Thadani, director - consumer, Lenovo India. “It’s an evolution of the traditional laptop and a potential game-changer,” he added. “With an evolving IT market in India, we are confident that Ultrabooks will be a worthwhile investment for any consumer,” said S Rajendran, chief marketing officer, Acer India, in a conversation with ET.
“Intel's focus is to make Ultrabooks capture about 40% of the worldwide laptop market by next year”, said Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group at Intel. This was at Intel’s Developer Forum 2011.
“The market share of Ultrabooks will increase more in 2013, when Intel plans to launch its ‘Haswell’ processor. Haswell will offer more than 20 times reduction in connected standby power," Eden said.
In 2012, Ultrabooks will come with Windows 8, Microsoft’s newest operating system which uses a grid of live tiles as the start menu. Since the OS is optimised for touch, Ultrabooks with touchscreens or those with detachable screens (an Ultrabook-tablet hybrid) are being developed.
Going forward, Ultrabooks will offer a built in anti-theft technology from McAfee. A stolen or lost Ultrabook will be unusable by anyone other than the actual owner. Prices are also expected to drop further to $800 from the current $1,000.
Acer Aspire S3 Review
Officially the first ultrabook to launch in India, the Aspire S3 is a handsome, wellbuilt machine. It has a super-bright LED backlit display, multi-touch trackpad, 6 hour battery life and all the features you would expect. Acer pulled off a neat trick with the S3 – by including a 20GB SSD and 320GB hard drive, it manages ultra-fast boot & wake from sleep with extended storage for all your files while keeping costs low.
Thanks to the Core i5 processor, 4GB RAM and Intel HD graphics, the performance on tap is more than enough for all your HD multimedia and office needs.
Compared to the Lenovo, the Acer has better build quality with tighter shut lines. However – and this could be a dealbreaker for some – the tapered design, black bar above the keyboard, the keyboard itself and the overall shape itself is very similar to the MacBook Air. The brushed aluminum on the lid is beautiful, but we wished there was more of it, especially on the palm rest and underside. Plus the cursor keys are absurdly small. Overall a solid device if you don’t mind the physical similarity with the Air. Lenovo IdeaPad
U300s Review
The U300s marks a new design language for Lenovo’s IdeaPad – and it is refreshing. Unlike the Acer, the U300s has an even thickness throughout and clad in sandblasted aluminium (both top and bottom). With the lid closed, the machine resembles a book or folder.
For storage, it includes a 128GB SSD – so not as much space as the Acer, but it is faster, and there are no moving parts, so your data is more secure. Hands down, the U300s also has a better keyboard than the Acer – layout, key size and general feel of the keys is better.
Performance and battery life is similar to the Acer – since most of the specs are the same. Unlike the Acer which has all ports at the back, the U300s is more conventional and has ports on both sides. However, the U300s scores extra points for including a USB 3.0 port for faster data transfers.
It’s not all good though — some of the aluminum edges are quite sharp and the airflow design is noisy – air is sucked through the keyboard and blown out the back, but with the fan on full tilt, it sounded like a mini jet engine. Plus, the keyboard is not backlit, something which the Acer S3 could do with as well.

Who Manages Cloud Services to the Home?

Users are frustrated trying to connect all their home devices to a wireless network. Who will fill the gap?

The enterprise is where the big bucks used to be, but home is where the hearts of consumers are. As the Web becomes more integrated in people’s lives, the home will become the battleground for a coming generation of startups and big companies. There’s a huge hole in the market where broadband hits the home, and normal people struggle to connect their ever-growing number of devices to a wireless network they may not understand.

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After watching big firms aim products at the home consumer and talking to venture firms trying to see which business models might have the most success, we believe the question boils down to whether an application or hardware is a better way to deliver connected home services? Fundamentally, every entrepreneur should realise that in a broadband world, what they will deliver is a service, and the rest is just the wrapping.
Earlier this week we saw the launch of Nest, a smart, connected thermostat, which is both beautiful and simple to use. All its complexity is hidden in the simplistic touch-wheel design, but it aims to control the heating and cooling in your home in a manner that will save consumers up to 30 percent of their energy consumption. At $250, this isn’t a cheap thermostat, but what people are buying here is the intelligence that resides in the service (and a pretty thermostat).
A similar example is the Sonos system, which is awesomesounding hardware that acts as a music delivery service. Again, the Sonos system isn’t cheap, but it does offer consumers aesthetically
pleasing (in sound; the boxes aren’t all that attractive) hardware with the true purpose of delivering music from the Web.
The box is also easy to set up and manages to mask any problems with the quality of a user’s home Wi-Fi network, so the consumer doesn’t need to worry about allocating bandwidth to the box. The list goes on with such devices as the Roku, which, like Sonos, is easy to set up and helps ensure a solid experience. And I can’t avoid mentioning Apple, which might be the king of building hardware that hides its complexity and is heading toward becoming a means of delivering such services as iTunes, iCloud, and MobileMe. It’s not quite there on the service side, yet, but I have no doubt it will get there.
While the app economy is huge on mobile devices, its ability to deliver services designed to be consumed at home is unclear. So far, apps designed to help consumers manage network-based services inside the home have faltered.
On the energy management side, Google’s PowerMeter and Microsoft’s Hohm products were abandoned after low adoption. That may reflect a lack of interest in home energy monitoring, so we’ll have to see if Nest makes an impact where these services failed.
The television industry hopes to build apps for its screen, and pay TV providers are offering apps in the form of TV Anywhere products that might count as an example of success. But it’s hard to pinpoint specific apps that provide a connected experience tied to the home or gadgets residing in the home. I wonder if services such as security and TV apps might be the best way to hide a service in the form of an application.
With TVs and TV content, an app strategy makes sense, because the content will come via IP to a multitude of devices from different manufacturers (although for traditional TVs, a settop box might work, too). For security, which would require a professional installation of equipment, an app strategy may also work.
The other area where I’d love to see some sort of user-centric app or device is in managing the network.
Right now, I don’t have the ability to allocate bandwidth easily to certain areas of my home or to certain applications. I think that, as more devices compete for limited Wi-Fi, such services make more sense. It could be built into a router or perhaps managed through the Web via an ISP-provided app.
Either way, consumers are beginning to get frustrated with the toll of maintaining, updating, troubleshooting, and having mediocre experiences on their connected devices.
Instead of bringing the glitchy PC experience to homes, let’s get it right this time with something that looks more like electricity. I don’t care if it’s hardware or an app; I just want to be able to flip a switch and have it work.

How to login into Facebook via linked accounts

Are you fed up of entering your Facebook password multiple times a day? Facebook provides a simple way to skip this step. Login to your Facebook account and click on the arrow next to 'Home' on the top bar.

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Select account settings and it will open 'General' settings. Now, click on Linked accounts and select one of the account providers from the drop down box (includes Google, My-Space , Yahoo, openID and verisign) and click on 'link new account'.

You will need to provide your Facebook password to confirm the action. Next time around, Facebook will not ask for your password if you are logged in to your linked account on the same browser.