Browse the web in a totally new and fun way with RockMelt

209998-rockmelt-icon_original.jpgBrowsing the web is by far the most popular and most predictable internet past time.  Everybody does it all the time, every day, out loud.  The problem with surfing is that its predictable. Browser to browser, computer to computer, the web is always the web, and it’s always the same.  That’s why I like RockMelt. It’s a new kind of web browser for Windows.

RockMelt provides a fundamentally better Web experience by re-imagining the browser around how you use the internet.  It has a built in chat client so you can talk to your friends whenever you want.  It’s got social networking built into it, so you can update a status, tweet links and easily post on Facebook Walls.

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RockMelt has an interesting feature called Social Reading that is sort of like RSS for your social networking sites. It gathers news from all of your friends and puts it in one place.  RockMelt supports sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.  Social Reading syncs automatically, so you don’t ever have to manually refresh it unless you want to.

RockMelt concentrates on pictures and videos. Its display is visually pleasing, and the app brings you the best of these as soon as they’re published. Its big tiles support swiping – to the right saves a story for later, to the left removes it from the stream. You get to interact with the internet the way you want to.

RockMelt is a different browsing experience and one that you may just fall in love with, provided you can get used to it. It’s got just about every social network built into it, so you can interact with them at your leisure.  Its multimedia-centric and built for speed. The only downside is that the rest of the web is formatted a bit differently and RockMelt attempts to present the web in its own image. I like it, but it doesn’t quite fit everywhere…

download RockMelt

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BitTorrent and Sync

bittorrentBitTorrent Inc. has released a new application that allows users to securely sync folders to multiple devices using the BitTorrent protocol. The free application has no storage limits and can serve both as a public backup system and a shared drive. BitTorrent Sync is especially efficient for groups who need to share many large files over the Internet.

The latest release form BitTorrent Inc. is an exciting and innovative application that provides users with the ability to synchronize their folders to a wide range of devices, simply by implementing the BitTorrent protocol. What are the benefits of this new application? Well, for one there are no limitations when it comes to storage – which gives users the multiple benefits of using Sync for shared drive purposes and as a public backup system. Essentially, this means that users with the desire and the need to share files across various devices have access to a practical, speedy and reliable form of distribution.

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If this sounds a tad familiar though, that’s because it is. BitTorrent is using similar technology to that of certain cloud services like Dropbox, iCloud, and Skydrive. The difference, however, is pretty clear. This is simply that there isn’t any third-party that has access to the files that are being shared, the storage is effectively unlimited and transfer services are rapid. It’s about time that BitTorrent introduced a productive way to backup and synchronise files across various devices – as BitTorrent have never really enjoyed this kind of service until now.

Sync implements a peer-to-peer platform. This means that users of the program will rely on each other for the sharing of their files, as opposed to any centralized infrastructure. This will add to the already rapidly growing peer-to-peer market that has dominated the Internet. Statistically, peer-to-peer transfers take up over 40% of the data being transferred across the net. With the cost effectiveness of this platform, more and more content owners and distributors are taking advantage of it – meaning its market domination is only likely to grow.

Legal issues surrounding peer-to-peer transfer are complicated, as the files being transferred will often make reference to copyrighted content – this means that the implemented peer-to-peer platform is often said to be synonymous to piracy. BitTorrent has established a completely decentralized network with the intention of transferring files in an effective and practical way – which raises problems in relation to existing laws within the market. The law has raised issues in terms of the liability of the BitTorrent protocol. Regardless, the amount of users making use of peer-to-peer sharing networks continues to grow.

 

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Keep your PC safe with one of the best security app – AVG Internet Security

AVG Internet SecurityComputing is complicated these days. With viruses, worms, phishing and all other kinds of malware out there, keeping your PC clean and your private data private, isn’t easy. That’s why I really like AVG Internet security. It’s a PC antimalware and security app for Windows.

AVG Internet Security provides 100% virus detection. Its scanning engine has received numerous awards for its detection of previously unknown viruses. Its unique combination of detection methods provides full protection against viruses, worms and Trojans.

AVG Internet Security has cutting-edge anti-spyware technology. It uses the latest, state-of-the-art detection technology, so spyware, adware, DLL-Trojans, key loggers, and much more don’t live long on your PC. Malware hidden in data streams, archives, or the Windows registry are also detected. Its powerful Resident Shield provides maximum protection by scanning every file opened, executed, or saved. It also prevents the opening or executing of infected files. For your protection, files can be included or excluded from being scanned based on individual file extensions; and can handle exceptions for potentially unwanted programs such as adware.

AVG Internet Security

AVG provides full email protection and checks every e-mail sent or received. It can protect your computer from any and all e-mail-borne threats; and includes spam and phishing protection and filtering. AVG supports all leading e-mail clients, including MS Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, The Bat!, Eudora, and all other SMTP/POP3-based e-mail clients, such as Outlook Express; and supports encrypted connections using SSL.

AVG Internet Security is one of the best internet suites available on the internet today. If you’ve got a home network, you have complete control over all network access. Its built in firewall monitors all communication to and from your computer, blocking external attacks and preventing Trojans from stealing confidential data. Its configuration wizard automatically creates access rules for all popular software and can switch profiles automatically, based upon the current connection type (LAN to Wi-Fi and back), ensuring seamless changeover for notebooks. If you don’t have an internet security suite, this is a great choice.

Download AVG Internet Security

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TweetDeck – Take complete command of your Twitter account

Take complete command of your Twitter account with this easy to use Windows app.

Social networking is huge and hot right now. If you active on any major social network, you’re likely active on more than one. Part of being social requires that you broadcast to as wide an audience as possible. This is why I like tools like TweetDeck. It’s a social networking tool for Windows.
TweetDeck is a social networking tool for both Facebook and Twitter. It shows you everything you want to see, all at once, so you can stay on top of the happenings within your social networks. Its social media dashboard helps you manage all of your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Like other Twitter apps, it interfaces with the Twitter API to allow users to send and receive tweets, view profiles as well as update and view your FB Status and Timeline.

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TweetDeck changed from an Adobe AIR application to native apps for both Windows and Mac OS X. there’s a web version of TweetDeck for WebKit-based browsers. The app’s most drastic update dropped support for other social networks like LinkedIn, Google Buzz, Foursquare, and MySpace. Clearly missing still is support for Google+. TweetDeck is a decent app, and you can’t beat its price. However, earlier versions were clearly more popular with users; and it would be nice if it included support for a few other networks.

Download TweetDeck

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Google Drive – A Foggy Cloud Experience

I’m in the middle of a love-hate relationship with Google Drive…

Google-DriveI’ve been living in the cloud for quite some time. I’ve had my Outlook contacts syncing with Plaxo since 2003 or so. I’ve also had accounts on Microsoft SkyDrive, Drop Box, and LiveDrive.  In some way, I’ve found all of these services wanting. But make no mistake, I’m very comfortable with my data in The Cloud. If you think about it, its very much like the dumb terminal-mainframe/mini computer model that everyone started using back in the 1970’s or so.

Most recently, I’ve switched to Google Drive; and there are some specific reasons for that. First and foremost, it works at the office.  The company I work at allows Google services through the firewall, and Google Drive works through Google’s standard Google Account authentication. None of the other client solutions I’ve used work the way they’re supposed to at the office. They’re all blocked.  Secondly, its nice to be able to have important files accessible on any the hard drive of connected machine, where and when I use them.

The biggest plus I have with the service is also the biggest problem I have – the client app. It keeps on crashing at the office.

The office PC runs Windows XP SP3; and while that’s hugely antiquated – its 3 major OS revisions (not releases) behind (Windows 7, Windows 7 SP1, and Windows 8) – it is what the organization trusts and is supporting as a whole throughout the enterprise.  I think Google Drives WinXP support is a bid dodgy. When Google Drive does crap out – and it errors out at LEAST once a day, if not more – I either get an error from Google Drive saying that its encountered an error and needs to close or Explorer itself crashes.

The first error is easy to recover from. All I have to do is restart Google Drive.  The second isn’t.  I have to wait for Windows to recover and then I have to bounce the PC.  If I don’t, I can’t access all of the previously running programs or System Tray extensions. The PC also becomes rather unstable.  This usually comes about because I’ve tried to browse to a deep, nested folder on my hard drive.

One of the things that I’ve learned to do is to quit the Google Drive client app before I browse my PC for files.  There’s no other way to prevent the app from erroring out.  Since the Windows 7 PC I have, doesn’t experience the problem, the only thing I can assume is that is related to the OS.  My Mac also doesn’t have client issues.

I’m not sure if Google plans on doing anything about it, but my gut tells me no. Unfortunately, that leaves me with a very foggy Cloud based experience with my data.  I just hope that the errors I know I’m going to bump into don’t damage my data.

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Keep your web surfing habits private with Ultrasurf

UltrasurfProtecting your privacy while surfing on line is a big problem, and something that we take seriously here at Soft32. This is the biggest reason why we like applications like Ultrasurf. It’s a privacy application for windows that helps keep your surfing habits secret.

Ultrasurf provides strong privacy protection with none of the confusing setups of other proxy tools. You’ll be ready to privately and securely surf the internet with Ultrasurf’s fast, private proxies moments after installation finishes. Ultrasurf is very easy to configure.

When you launch this program for the first time, Ultrasurf loads Internet Explorer automatically. Thankfully, it also supports other browsers. Ultrasurf has a very simple interface with Home, Retry, Option, Help, and Exit buttons. However, its golden lock icon, which showed up on our Windows Taskbar after we started the program, is a bit awkward. However, we were able to hide it.

Ultrasurf

If you like to protect your privacy or can’t access certain Web sites due to censorship, Ultrasurf will be the easiest gateway for you. It doesn’t have a lot of options, but it does what it’s designed to do.

Overall, Ultrasurf is very easy to use and page-loading time while browsing is fast. Its ideal for people who don’t know much about how proxies work. You don’t have to assign any port numbers or play with the features in order to hide your IP address. Those who are familiar with proxy servers can also change their settings manually if they wish.

Download Ultrasurf

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Chat with all of your Facebook friends with this handy Windows app

facebook-messenger-para-windows-7-02-535x535Keeping in touch with your friends isn’t always easy. Some use this tool. Others frequent that site. Getting to everyone on a common platform isn’t always possible; however, Facebook is one place where most everyone goes. This is one of the reasons why I really like Facebook Messenger. It’s a chat tool for Windows.

Facebook is great for catching up with old friends. Its chat features are pretty nice and very useful. You can chat with just about anyone, anytime, anywhere. The big problem with FB chat is that it requires you to have a browser open, and be logged into their site for it to work. Facebook Messenger solves this problem.

You can do almost everything with Facebook Messenger that you can with FB chat on their website. The app makes use of Java to provide universality from platform to platform, and this is both good and bad. Java may be the great programmatic equalizer – code once, execute on many platforms – but it can be problematic as well. Each platform performs differently and Java may not behave the same way from platform to platform. I had some problems getting the app to behave and function as I had hoped it would. It offered similar experiences on all the Windows machines I tried to run it on.

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The app’s interface can be somewhat confusing. It’s not always clear where incoming messages and their alerts will appear. Sometimes they show up in your active chat window, other times in your inbox. It makes for a confusing conversation. It also doesn’t do a lot for the app’s usability, either. Facebook Messenger is an ok app, but nothing really to get excited about.

Download Facebook Messenger

 

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Top 5 Tech Predictions for 2013

Technology-Predictions-For-2013Here are my top 5 predictions for 2013:

2012 was a changing year for technology. Mountain Lion, Windows 8, the iPad Mini and Google’s release of Jelly Bean are among the hot releases of the year. There were obviously a great many more.

2013 is going to be pivotal for technology as a number of other developments capture the lime light and bring Nerd-dome into the average American home. In no particular order, here are my top five predictions for 2013.

1. BB10 Fails
Despite its best efforts to right the ship, RIM’s much heralded Blackberry 10 OS and associated devices are met with lukewarm to no public interest. Enterprise sales never take off, as users are more interested in using their own iOS or Android device at work.

2. RIM Declines, is Purchased by Dell or Microsoft
Because BB10 flops, interest in RIM’s associated new devices dwindles to next to nothing. Once their existing enterprise customers see how the new devices are received, many more jump ship for greener iOS and/or Android pastures. This dramatic drop in enterprise revenue is going to get a lot of play by the tech media and press and Wall Street’s reaction won’t be kind. Their stock will drop sharply, making them an easy target for acquisition. Likely buyers will be either Dell or Microsoft, the latter will be interested in RIM for their IP/patents. Dell, if successful in purchasing RIM, will try to make a go of it as RIM Part Deux, but that will fail too, as the whole BB BIS/BES model has been obsoleted by Exchange ActiveSync and other sync options offered by both Apple and Google.

3. Microsoft Surface RT Products Don’t Survive 2013
Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet is having trouble with adoption. While its thin and light and very portable, consumers don’t understand Windows RT and Enterprises are interested in a 1.0 version of ANYTHING. As such, Surface RT dies as Microsoft can’t justify sustaining the product in the consumer market. As such, Microsoft abandons Surface RT near the end of Q2 2013 in favor of the much more enterprise friendly and consumer understood Surface Pro, but its price-point is set so high (starting at $899), that consumers ignore it for more affordable, traditional Windows 8 laptops or ultrabooks. By mid-2013, Microsoft will begin drastically discounting Surface Pro tablets in order to generate interest and sales. Eventually, MS will discover that they aren’t making any money on the devices and will announce and/or discontinue them before the end of 2013 as well.

4. Windows 8 is Declared a flop
Sales of Windows 8 have been less than impressive. Consumers don’t understand it. Microsoft has “moved their cheese.” Enterprises won’t adopt it until much, much later. Many companies are still using Windows XP, let alone, Windows 7, and it’s been out for more than 3 years. 2013 will be a huge sales target and opportunity missed for Windows 8, as it doesn’t do well without a touch screen, and most legacy hardware doesn’t have it. Legacy styled laptops won’t incorporate them, and so, sales of Windows 8 will go nowhere, thus creating a bigger flop than WindowsME or Windows Vista.

5. No Public Jailbreak of iOS 6 will be Released
Every published jailbreak of IOS shows Apple exactly what bugs have been exploited in order for RedSn0w to work any of its Cydiaic Magic. It was recently announced that a jailbreak was created by the DevTeam; but wouldn’t be immediately released. The DevTeam wanted to hold back a bit, as iOS 6.1 is scheduled to be released soon, and usually with every new release of iOS, the current jailbreak is broken, requiring rework by the DevTeam to rejailbreak it. Given that it’s getting harder and harder for the DevTeam to jailbreak the mobile OS, I predict that the DevTeam will likely hold back releasing any jailbreak for iOS 6 until iOS 7 is released; or at least until they get a better understanding of where Apple is taking their mobile OS and can see how difficult it will be for them to continue to provide any kind of support, OR if it would be better to branch out and pursue another to-be-determined direction.

BONUS. Competition between Apple & Samsung heats up with Revamped Apple TV
2013 will see competition between Apple and Samsung reach new levels in and out of the courtroom. Apple will most likely take competition with their Korean rivals to the next level by releasing a TV with an enhanced version of their popular set top box built-in, an enhanced update to their popular set top box, or both. Apple will cut some new content deals with a few low-end content providers, but the larger ones – cable companies, cable operators, etc.) will still be missing. Apple will get close enough to cracking this nut to kick off another new round of anti-trust/patent litigation with those that don’t sign with them or with other competing companies like Samsung, Sony, etc.

I have no idea how accurate these will be. We’ll have to revisit them near the end of 2013 to see how accurate or out to lunch I was.

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