Find and fix issues on your Windows PC with PCKeeper

pckeeper-iconLet’s face it – you’re busy. You have a lot going on with your kids, your job, and your online lives. The last thing you need are unsolvable PC problems to crop up to add frustration and complication to your life when you least expect it. It’s a good thing that there are applications like PCKeeper available. It’s a PC utility that can keep your PC running and running well.

Everybody has one – a go-to PC guy that can usually solve your PC problems with a couple of clicks of your mouse. The problem is, the guy has a life beyond making sure your PC is circling the while porcelain bowl of death. That’s where PCKeeper comes in.

When your PC guy is busy, PCKeeper can bring your PC back into line. With its Find &Fix feature, PCKeeper gathers your PC’s system information and sends it to a technical expert who will find and fix all security and performance issues. You can use Find & Fix whenever you want to analyze your system for security and performance issues. PCKeeper recommends that you use Find & Fix every 30 days or so.

If you have questions about what’s going on with your PC or perhaps something you’re curious about, you can try Geek on Demand. With it, you can get expert answers literally any technical question you might have. All you need to do is choose one of the suggested problem areas and describe your problem in detail. You will receive a guaranteed answer within 48 hours.

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No PC utility would be complete without antivirus, and PCKeeper is no exception. PCKeeper Antivirus protects you from all kinds of threats in your everyday life that may arise from surfing the net, sending emails, sharing and exchanging info online etc. The best thing about PCKeeper’s AV solution is that its integrated with Microsoft Security Center, making it a native Microsoft antivirus protection tool with automatic scans and daily virus signature updates.

With Files Recovery you can restore accidentally deleted documents, media and other files even if they were removed from the Recycle Bin.

When to Use It?
Use Files Recovery after you’ve lost important data due to application crash, virus activity or someone else messing with your files.

If you don’t have a PC utility that can keep your PC straight, then you need to stop what you’re doing and take a trip over to PCKeeper’s data page at Soft32. PCKeeper is an amazing application that offers a great deal more than AV and click and fix applets. Its also a great data security app that can hide files and folders, keeping sensitive information private. When you want to remove information from your hard drive, PCKeeper’s file Shredder can insure the data can’t be accessed. When you want to recover data that’s accidentally been erased (not Shredded, but erased), PCKeeper can bring it back, too. This is a must have app for your Windows PC.

Download PCKeeper

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Rumors of an iPad Maxi are a Bit Much

apple-logoAside from all of the jokes the rumored name will spawn, 12.9 inches is a bit large for a tablet.

Mac news and rumors site, Mac Rumors reported Tuesday 28-May-2013 that Apple was developing a 12.9 inch diagonal tablet expected to be dubbed the iPad Maxi. Aside from all of the jokes the name will undoubtedly generate, 12.9 inches is a bit large for a tablet. Unfortunately, I don’t think the idea, if accurate, has enough legs to be successful.

The rumored iPad Maxi is supposed to be targeted as a direct competitor to the ultrabook and text book markets. Thirteen inches diagonal is the ideal screen size for ultrabooks. However, as Amazon can tell you, having a large eBook reader did NOT go over well. They discontinued their larger KindleDX, citing poor sales. As the iPad does not come with any kind of native keyboard, producing a 13″ tablet without one doesn’t seem to be a good idea in my opinion.

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I have to agree with Paul Thurrott of the Windows SuperSite – (and I’m paraphrasing…) despite where the industry wants PC sales to go, people still want a traditional computing experience right now, especially in the enterprise. Moving to an iOS or Android only computing experience isn’t likely to be a huge success right now. The software providing a similar experience isn’t there, and probably won’t be for a while. People also want a real keyboard; and because Apple hasn’t provided a native keyboard for the iPad and has instead left that to 3rd party providers, I don’t see this being a huge seller, despite what anyone else thinks.

The price point would also be much higher than the $499 entry point of the 10″ iPad. If this is going to be targeted at the academic market, cheaper is better. Students and educators don’t usually have a lot of money to spend on toys or tools of this caliber.

However, Apple has historically been unpredictable. Unless and until this hits the market, I’m going to remain in “wait and see” mode, but gonna say, “not likely to happen.”

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Xbox One and Only

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Microsoft revealed their new multimedia console on May 21, 2013. Also known as the Durango project, the new console is the third iteration in the Xbox family. Officially named as Xbox One, this console brings the series to the next level of gaming experience, at least from the hardware point of view.

Unlike Xbox 360 which featured a PowerPC architecture, Xbox One comes with a x86 based one, making the backward compatibility with Xbox 360 games just a dream which will never come true. The processing speed will be determined by 8 GB of DDR3 RAM from which 3 GB will be reserved for apps and OS, the rest of memory being left for the actual games. The graphics unit is based on an AMD GCM architecture. Also the the new Xbox will not have a composite or component video output. The video and audio input and output will be combined into a HDMI 1.4 support which is ready for a 4K video resolution (3840×2160) and 7.1 surround sound output.

Microsoft went to a more simplified design for their new console, similar to PS3 featuring a two-tone “liquid black” finish and a boxy look. By all means, Xbox One is like a black box, with no replaceable components. Even the 500 GB hard drive cannot be changed or removed. The good thing about this design is that the console looks much more compact, with no moving parts. Even the Blu-Ray drive features a fixed retractable system for a more secure way of reading the discs.

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In case you want to borrow some games from your friend, you should know that the game discs can be played on more than one console, but only after you pay a fee in order to unlock it on your console. That’s because the games are tied to both Xbox One console and Xbox Live account. Even if the game features only singleplayer you need to have 24 h internet access in order to play it.

The Kinect sensor is now part of the whole system. This means that Xbox One will not function without the sensor plugged in. The new Kinect uses a 1080p wide-angle view in comparison to the VGA resolution of the previous version, and has the ability to process a huge amount of data to read its environment. Therefore the sensor can now track up to 6 players at once, including their heart rate, and their gestures performed with the Xbox One controller.

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The Xbox One controller maintains the overall look from the Xbox 360 design. If it works, why would you change it? The design of the directional pad has been changed to a four-way button while the battery compartment is slimmer. The big addition here are the triggers which will feature independent rumble motors which simulate directional vibrations. Imagine firing a gun with a trigger. On the xbox 360 gamepad you would get a vibration effect in the whole surface of the controller. But now, with the new technology, the vibration will focused only on the trigger.

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A digital video recorder is the new component available in Xbox One, which empowers the user to record his gameplay. The user can also edit and share their video creations using built-in video editing tools. Unfortunately no one known at the moment if the DVR component will be able to record video from cable or satellite TV services.

The console is schedules to be released at the end of this year. Overall it seems that Microsoft will mark a new financial success with Xbox OneMore, and will be able to attract new users in their ecosystem, because their gimmick  is not just a gaming console, but more of a media center which  can easily compete against with other similar products like Apple TV and Google TV platform. More details and info will be presented exclusively at E3 2013.

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Viber – Take the free way

viberToday, the free calls over the internet became more and more popular. And while there are plenty of programs that allows you to do so, it’s quite hard to choose. But of course, you go for the most featured and light program that you can find. That’s what I like the most about Viber.

First of all, it’s all cross platform. I know, it’s not the only one who has multiple platform support, but its features are making Viber a complete fast and free communication app. It’s fast, because it’s light, simple and efficient. While other programs offer you this and that function, Viber developers managed to get most of the features, well, the most useful ones, into one program. So, you have high quality voice calls, free text (even group text), photo messages and location-sharing with Viber users. Nothing of these requires registration. The application will detect automatically your contacts who are using Viber, and is working great on 3G connection or wifi without major differences. Anyway, be careful because the usage of 3G will use your data plan and can generate extra costs.

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As I mentioned before, it’s a cross platform software. So, except for linux, you can have Viber on almost any device using Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Nokia (Symbian) and Samsung Bada.

I was testing the Windows and Android versions. Well, I wanted to check the Video Call feature, which so far is a beta feature, between these platforms. On Windows I have the feature, marked as beta, but on Android is not. So, I can make a voice call between these platforms, but so far, the Video call feature doesn’t seem to be available on the mobile device. Location sharing is also a bit tricky. You only have a small purple arrow that will share your location with the person you are texting, if you activate the arrow. You can open the location in Maps, and let your GPS guide you to meet. Available on mobile device only.

If you want to install the windows version, you must first activate Viber on a mobile device, because Viber will use your telephone number as an identifier for the desktop version of the program. By using the desktop version of Viber you will get the advantage of getting all your viber contacts from your phone instantly on your desktop version.

The application is great for free calls. We all know how expensive the calls/messages with other countries are, so, it’s a good and efficient way to talk free with all your friends from all over the world.

Download Viber

 

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Google I/O – The Cool Stuff: Part 2

A lot of cool stuff came out of Google I/O last week. Let’s take a quick look at some of them in this sweet two-part series.

 

IOGoogle I/O is Google’s big annual developer bash. Like Microsoft Build and Apple’s WWDC, Google I/O is designed to showcase Google’s latest goodies and achievements. The idea is to attract new developers to use the new features and functionality that will in turn attract more consumer and enterprise customers to the Google side of the mobile world.

This year, Google rolled out a number of new developments in both the desktop and mobile platform spaces. Over the next couple of days, I’m going to highlight some interesting developments from both areas and try to show you where you might find value for yourself. Today, we’re going to concentrate on mobile.

 

Mobile Developments

 

Galaxy S4 with Stock Android
Google has chosen the latest Samsun Galaxy S phone, as its Nexus phone and will offer a version of the S4 with a vanilla version of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. The phone is scheduled to cost a steep $649 for an unlocked version of the device which should work on any GSM carrier.

Enhanced Google Maps
Google Maps has pretty much set the standard for a maps on demand GPS solution, at least in the Android part of the world. If you have an Android device, you have Google Maps; and as long as you live in an area with decent cell coverage, there’s no need to look for or use any other navigation solution.

As part of I/O, Google announced that it will be rolling out updates to maps that make searching larger maps more personal. Using technology that powers Google Now, Maps learns what your searching for and future results will get better the more it’s used.

Auto Enhance
Most people use point and shoot cameras to take digital photos vs. those that use DSLR’s. Most of those point and shoot cameras are actually cellphones. Digital camera technology has come a long way in the past few years with many cellphone camera specs rivaling those of dedicated point and shoot models. Your cellphone is most always with you , too.

Google is introducing Auto Enhance, a tool that offers users a way to improve brightness, contrast, saturation, structure, noise, focus and a number of other photo attributes automatically. The tool allows you to upload photos and to open a light box to see what Google improved for you.

Google+ Hangouts App
Google+ Hangouts offer members a virtual gathering place where they can chat, discuss and congregate with other members. Hangouts are often used for podcasting and live shows, sharing files and photos; but are also used for collaborative work.

Google has announced the release of a standalone application for Hangouts that works across Android, iOS and the desktop. Gmail users can now replace GChat with Hangouts. All they have to do is click the “Try it out” link on their chat lists.

Google+ Redesign
Google+ is the Google’s contribution to social networking; and its recently been updated with 41 new features, including design elements, updates to Hangouts, photo editing tools, additional storage, etc. While I’m certain that the Google+ mobile app has been updated, you can best see all of the design changes and feature editions on the desktop. If you haven’t seen Google+ lately, you need to check it out.

The one big disappointment out of the Google I/O keynote was the lack of a new Android OS or Chrome OS announcement. Perhaps Google is taking the time to delay a new version of either OS to address fragmentation and symmetry issues. This would be a GREAT idea in my opinion. The many different flavors of Android available and in use today are issues that Google needs to address.

At some point, Google will want to retire some versions and insure that those that can update do. This is going to be challenging, though, as many mobile carriers have control of what’s updated on what devices on their networks.

Google I/O – The Cool Stuff: Part 1

 

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Google I/O – The Cool Stuff: Part 1

google-io-2013A lot of cool stuff came out of Google I/O last week. Let’s take a quick look at some of them in this sweet two-part series.

Google I/O is Google’s big annual developer bash. Like Microsoft Build and Apple’s WWDC, Google I/O is designed to showcase Google’s latest goodies and achievements. The idea is to attract new developers to use the new features and functionality that will in turn attract more consumer and enterprise customers to the Google side of the mobile world.

This year, Google rolled out a number of new developments in both the desktop and mobile platform spaces. Over the next couple of days, I’m going to highlight some interesting developments from both areas and try to show you where you might find value for yourself. Today, we’re going to concentrate on the desktop.

Desktop Developments

Quick Actions in Gmail
When you get an actionable email message from someone, don’t be surprised when you can act on the item from right within Gmail. Google is rolling out Quick Action buttons that show up next to actionable items. For example, you’ll be able to RSVP for events from within the invite. Flight information will also be a featured action. Its Google’s intention to solicit their developer partners for ideas on additional buttons.

Gmail Payments
Send money via email, just like PayPal, only its Google Wallet. If you have a Google Wallet account, you can send money to anyone else with an email address. They don’t have to have Gmail, but will have to have a Wallet account.

This is nearly the EXACT same model as PayPal, which BTW, does pretty well. Like their other “me too” app Google+, which competes directly with Facebook, I expect this to have the same amount of success. People may give it a shot to see how well it does or doesn’t work, but then will either revert back to their PayPal account or simply abandon it entirely. Google’s been trying to get into the payments game for a while now with NFC and Google Wallet, It hasn’t had a lot of luck, and I don’t see Gmail Payments providing them with any kind of competitive advantage over the very well established and widely accepted PayPal.

Voice-Powered Desktop Search
This new development is meant to compete directly with Apple’s Siri. It’s been rumored that Apple would be bringing Siri to the desktop in Mountain Lion, but that update never materialized. While many Apple users are still looking for it, Google beat them to the punch with the introduction of conversational, voice powered desktop search. I would expect to see this as part of most Chromebooks as well as an extension available via Google’s Chrome browser.

Google Now Cards – Cool Reminders
This is another feature that catches up to Apple Reminders. Supporting both time and date, Google added geo-fencing to Now’s reminders. You can get a reminder to trigger in Google Now when you arrive or leave a specific geographic location.

Geo-fencing has been a bit of an issue for Apple, and the feature doesn’t work as intended. At least I’ve never been able to have it work correctly. Hopefully Google’s vast experience with Maps will help it better trigger these events and its performance will be much better than Apple Reminders’; cuz it kinda sucks…

Streaming Music Service – All Access
This is yet another area where Google beat Apple to the punch. Apple’s iRadio has been rumored to be in the works for a few years now. Unfortunately, the much anticipated and much sought after service has not materialized behind Apple’s Walled Garden of content and services.

I’m not sure how Google pulled it off, but they got to the party first with All Access. For about $10 bucks a month, you can stream “millions” of songs out of the Google Play Store or your own Google Music library. Available in the US now (and other countries in the coming months), users get a 30 day free trial with the service billed automatically after that. If you signup before 30-Jul-2013, you get the service for $8 bucks.

If you plan to use the service and don’t have a fat data plan, you better make a trip over to your cell carrier of choice and make sure you’ve got the bandwidth to support the service. Usually those people who use other streaming services like Pandora or Rdio find that once they start, they can’t stop. This is a huge win for Google as the new service works on the desktop as well as your mobile device. Hopefully, as details of the fine print come to light, we’ll find that it’s worth the cost.

Come back next time, as we’ll dive into some cool mobile developments that came out of Google I/O. It may be that the best is yet to come!

Google I/O – The Cool Stuff: Part 2

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Keep your surfing and personal data private Platinum Hide IP

PlatinumHideIPLogoOnline privacy is one of the hottest topics in computing today.  Keeping your surfing habits and personal information to yourself is of huge importance to many who don’t want their identities stolen, their computers infested with adware or filled with other malware. This is one of the reasons why I like applications like Platinum Hide IP. It’s an internet privacy tool for Windows.

Platinum Hide IP can help you keep your real IP address hidden. With it, you can surf anonymously, secure all the communication protocols on your PC and provide full encryption of your online activity. With your true IP masked, your online activity can’t be tracked by others.

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Platinum Hide IP helps you protect your identity.  Anonymous web surfing enables you to prevent identity thieves from stealing your identity or other personal information. It keeps your computer safe from hacker attacks or other risks. Proxy lists of many countries are enabled and you decide which country should be used in the Choose IP Country window. You can check the current IP address directly.

Platinum Hide IP helps you send anonymous emails through any web based mail system such as Gmail, Hotmail, etc.  You can also use it to get unbanned from any forums or other blocked websites that have ever banned you.

Platinum Hide IP does a decent job of masking your current IP address so you can’t be tracked online. The app is simple and easy to use, and is relatively cheap.  However, you may find its focus limited for the price you do pay.

download Platinum Hide IP

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Smaller MS Surface – What it Needs to Succeed

For MS to make a difference in the tablet market, it needs to think about how it approaches its smaller

Microsoft-Surface-RT7Adrian Kingsley-Hughes had a good article published on ZDNet the morning of 16-May-2013 speaking about how price, not size, is going to determine the success or failure of Microsoft’s rumored 7″ Surface tablet. He’s right; but I think there’s more to it than just price. There are 3 areas that MS has to address, not just 1:

PriceLet’s be clear, as Kingsley-Hughes goes into great detail in his article – Surface RT stars at $499. Surface Pro starts at $899. The iPad mini and Kindle Fire HD are similarly sized tablets that have starting prices of $329 and $199 respectively. For this tablet to be successful, the 7″ Surface needs to be priced under $300; but seriously, the lower priced the better.
Windows RT not Windows 8The 7″ Surface should be a content consumption device and NOT a small ultrabook like its larger Surface RT and Surface Pro siblings. In order to hit the lower price points I’ve outlined above, the device needs to shy away from x86 microprocessors. They’re too expensive and don’t provide enough storage or battery life.The smaller tablets are more appropriate as a content consumption device – media players, eBook readers and the like – as opposed to a very small ultrabook. In order to make sure this happens and happens well, Windows RT needs a fundamental change. It needs to be more tablet-centric as opposed to Windows-centric. Windows RT needs to lose Desktop mode and most – if not all – of its familiar desktop Windows paradigm elements. Windows RT needs to be a tablet specific OS. The sooner it does this, the better off it will be; and the better chance it has to being accepted by a Windows familiar public.
Nook or Not; and if Not, then What?There’s been some speculation that Microsoft would buy all of the Nook digital assets from B&N. There are a number of different reasons on both sides of the issue – for and against – the acquisition of the assets as well as developing a version of Windows RT that will run on the ARM-based Nook tablets.If MS does buy the Nook digital assets and doesn’t modify Windows RT to run on the Nook (which may actually be the 7″ Surface tablet we’ve heard about…), then it doesn’t make a lot of sense for them to acquire the assets, at least in my opinion. If they don’t buy Nook, then you really have to wonder what new hardware device is going to be introduced to the market. It also calls into question the price and OS version concerns I’ve outlined above.

Microsoft has a lot of hoops to jump through to make a 7″ Surface tablet work for them. Time will tell if they get it right.

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