Google Kills off Google Apps Standard

Current users and domains won’t be effected, but the free version of Google Apps is gone.

Back in 2008 when Google introduced Google Apps, their online Office Suite, it came in two different versions.  Small businesses and those Gmail users that wanted to implement a custom mail domain (50 users or less) without having to set up a dedicated mail server or incurring any additional expense could use Google Apps Standard.  Larger groups (51 or more users) were required to pay a subscription fee and use Google Apps for Business.  Today, Google Apps Standard was discontinued.

Current users of Google Apps Standard won’t have to subscribe.  Google Apps Standard is still free for educational customers. New users will need to subscribe to Google Apps Premium.

I am a current Google Apps Standard user for my personal site, iTechGear.org. I rarely use any of the office suite apps. I use it mainly for Gmail and a customized email address (xxxxx@itechgear.org).  Users that want to use Google Apps for that, who are not educational customers, must now pay for Google Apps for Business.

Pricing for Google Apps for business can be seen here.  Basically, its $5 per user per month or $50 per user a year.  That includes 25GB of Gmail storage and 5GB of Google Drive Storage.  You can also use a customized email address if you wish.

For casual users like me, this would be a bit pricey. I wouldn’t choose this option if I had to do this now.  For small businesses and one to two man operations, this isn’t a good option, in my opinion. Thankfully, I’m grandfathered in…for now. This is likely not the end of this type of move by Google, either. There are a number of Google Standard users out there, and I think it’s only a matter of time before they get move to the Google Apps for Business realm and will be required to pay a subscription or lose their use of the service.

Time will tell, however; and until then, I’m glad I got in early.

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Internet Explorer 10 Release Preview available for Windows 7

A week ago Microsoft released Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 users. While still not in its final version, the browser is served as a Release Preview in 32 bit and 64 bit form.

Initially Microsoft released Internet Explorer 10 only for Windows 8 as part of it. Being directly integrated into the system, many users have questioned Microsoft’s decision not to make the 10th version of the browser also available for Windows 7 a year ago. As a consequence to this, it was imminent the Windows 7 version to be available in this period of the year.

At a first look, the Release Preview of Internet Explorer 10 is nearly identical to the version of the browser integrated into the Windows 8. The only core difference is that Adobe Flash is not integrated into the Windows 7 / Windows Server 2012 version like it is in the Windows 8 version. The reason of having a built-in version of Adobe Flash into Windows 8 version of IE 10 is that the browser does not support browser plugins.

In case you want to try out the browser in Windows 7, you should know that the installation of Internet Explorer 10 Preview will replace the current version of the browser on the system. A restart will be required to complete the installation. If you are not satisfied with its functionality, you can uninstall it from the Updates panel of your operating system.

download Internet Explorer 10 Release Preview

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SugarSync – there’s no place safer than the cloud!

Too many times I needed a file that I’ve created at the office or at home and I couldn’t access from another location because I forgot to copy it or to email it to myself! Well, I was glad to find a way to access my files from office, home, or wherever I am from my android phone! Yes, I can access all my important files from anywhere. And, If I modify something to my files, when I save the document, it’s getting synced with the file stored in the “cloud” and so I can access my file from any other device later.

More and more the term “cloud” is used in our lives, and this feature of the internet is getting more and more popular. It is easy to share, to access your files anywhere, and most of all, it is safe! I save my important files there, I don’t have to worry anymore that my computer might crash. You can start by having 5 GB of space for free in the SugarSync Cloud, and you can gain more free space by sending invitations to friends (send 20 invitations to get 2 GB extra for free), do some small tasks that will teach you how to use the SugarSync application and you get extra space, and whenever one of your friends will accept the invitation, you will gain 500MB, at maximum of 18 GB. Wow, now that’s a lot of free space, a safe space to save ALL your important data! Imagine that you can store a little less than the capacity of 5 DVDs there, and share what you want, with who you want, even if that person doesn’t use SugarSync! And the best part is that the application is multi-platform. It’s working on Windows (including Windows 8), Mac, Android, iOS, Blackberry, Symbian, Windows Mobile.

No matter what device you have, you can use it!

Download SugarSync application

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Find out which browser is the fastest on your device with Browsermark

Meet Browsermark, a free benchmark that measure and compare the performance of any browser on any internet enabled device, including: desktops, notebooks, tablets, smartphones and more. The benchmark runs test like the page loading and page resizing, and conformance testing for HTML5 and network speed so you can easily pick the right browser for your device.

We are all frustrated with the performance of our browser based on the device we are web browsing on, to the point that we continue to ask ‘Am I expecting too much from my tablet?‘” said Tero Sarkkinen, CEO of Rightware. Browsermark answers that question for you. This simple to run test will help you decide which browser gives the best web experience for your device.

Browsermark was designed to measure the browser performance in the context of JavaScript, HTML5, WebGL, CSS and many more. Browsermark provides the de facto benchmark approach to measure variety of different performance aspects of device’s browsing capabilities, functionality and speed, and provides well-understood results for easy comparison of different device capabilities.

All of the data will be uploaded to Rightware’s Power Board online database. Power Board gathers and maintains all of the official benchmarking data from all of the company’s benchmarking tools. Power Board allows access to benchmarking data of graphics, system, multicore, browser and user interface performance of various different devices, running different operating systems and hardware.

Run Browsermark

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Get hold of the best defence in the war against online surveillance

Tor is free software that works to defend a user’s personal system against privacy-invading network surveillance measures, which criminally limit online freedom, reveal confidential matters and monitor private business relationships. It works in an intelligently crafted way – “bouncing” your activities around a network relay which is operated by a number of online volunteers.

Installing this software makes it impossible for Internet “invaders” to monitor which sites you like to visit, and prevents sites that you frequent from uncovering your specific location. It doesn’t really matter what you do; whether you’re a journalist, a blogger, a soldier, a human rights worker or just another citizen, Tor becomes a valuable tool.


The really fun bit about Tor is that the more the user base expands, the more the user’s level of security grows. Though the software doesn’t just automatically encode all Internet activities, the user’s security will continue to increase based on the number of volunteers that decide to help operate these relays.

This piece of software is Open Source, meaning it is completely free of any political involvement, a great way to hide your IP address, overall great proxy to achieve personal privacy on the Internet.

When it comes to achieving the basic right to personal privacy online, this software is certainly the way to go. Once you get the hang of Tor — used alongside additional tools – it becomes the best way to achieve ultimate anonymity and data sharing freedom.

Download Tor

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Free Mobile Broadband with FreedomPop

If you live in The States and you’re looking for cheap mobile broad band, I’ve got good news for you…

I got an interesting email the other day from a new company called FreedomPop. They provide free mobile broadband. All you need is a compatible web stick or hot spot.

FreedomPop is currently in beta.  You have to get an invite to participate.  Mine came out of nowhere, and I have to admit, I bit on the line and signed up.

FreedomPop provides 500MB of free, unrestricted, unthrottled bandwidth.  All you have to do is put a deposit down on either a 4G web stick ($50 bucks) or a 4G hot spot ($100 bucks).  The device arrives via FedEx, and all you have to do is either plug it in or let it charge and turn it on. The device jumps on the network, and away you go.

The web stick works with both Windows and Mac machines with a USB 2.0 port.  The hotspot allows up to 8 devices to surf; but with only 500MB of bandwidth on the free plan, you may want to watch what you do. If 500MB isn’t enough data for you, on FreedomPop’s pay as you go mobile broadband network, they do have plans available for purchase.

FreedomPop offers the following plans:

Data Plan Details Most per Month (US Dollars)
Free 500MB 500MB

$0.02 per MB overage

FREE

Basic 1GB 1GB

$0.01 per MB overage

$9.99

Casual 2GB 2GB

$0.01 per MB overage

$17.99

Premier 4GB 4GB

$0.01 per MB overage

$28.99

Premier 5GB 5GB

$0.01 per MB overage

$34.99

Premier 10GB 10GB

$0.01 per MB overage

$59.99

The cool thing is that these are all pay as you go.  However, if you don’t use it, you lose it.  This isn’t like AT&T’s roll over minutes. You lose what you don’t use at the end of your 30 day cycle, so the point here is don’t buy more than you need. Only buy 10Gb if you know you’re going to use (nearly) 10GB of data every month.  Suburban Chicago is sufficiently covered, so I should be good to go. I’m giving the free plan a shot and will upgrade as necessary. You can also buy “swing loan” bandwidth to get you over a hump on those months that you use more than you normally would.

I’ll let everyone know how things go after my hot spot gets here. If the speeds are decent and the coverage is worthwhile, then you may way to check for availability in your area and sign up.

 

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View virtually any file or email attachment you need instantly with Quick View Plus

For businesses it can be costly to download endless pieces of software however with more and more documentation becoming digitalised it is necessary to be able to deal with various different files and attachments. Installation of Quick View Plus means that these can be accessed without taking up time spent on trying to open and convert the files.

There are literally hundreds of conversions possible – we tried a number of different file types including PDF, spreadsheets, databases and more and the QVP managed to read them all successfully, as well as quickly. It is free to try and the licence cost is small enough to pay for itself relatively quickly, when you take in to account the cost of installing individual applications.

There are only two negatives as far as we could tell. Firstly, there is a slight dip in quality of the converted PDF files which don’t come back as cleanly as with Adobe and Foxlt Readers. The other problem is that it doesn’t currently handle multimedia applications which would be handy, particularly for the home user.

We would go so far as saying that this software is essential for small to medium sized businesses that don’t have the budget for endless applications or the time to convert files constantly. It’s Vista and Windows compatible so is opened easily either on the QVP viewer or through Internet Explorer. With this there is no need to get stuck with a file or attachment that you can’t open.

Multimedia options in newer editions would be welcome.

Download Quick View Plus

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Secure your home or businesses internet connection with Wifi Protector

Whilst a wireless connection is an easier and more convenient way to get on the internet, using one puts your personal information at risk of being seen by others.

Most security software just protects your device from viruses. The WiFi Protector protects your connection from hackers at all times. It uses 256 bit encryption technology, enough to protect you from identity theft and other internet crimes.

The software also hides your unique IP address, giving you anonymity and the freedom to surf the internet reassured of your privacy. With your IP address hidden you can access restricted websites censored to you in your area.

The main menu displays all the information you need to check your connection is protected. You can monitor what devices are connected to the same network as you, making sure only devices you trust are on the same WiFi connection as you. The software runs in the background of your computer, notifying you whenever a new device connects to your network.

Whilst wireless internet makes it easier for you to surf the web, it also makes it easier for hackers to access your personal information. It is vital to encrypt your information to keep it protected from others. The WiFi Protector is an easy way to protect your network at all times.

Download Wifi Protector

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