The New Face of [Windows] Networking

Mobile computing is starting to make its influences felt beyond smartphones and tablets and is starting to influence the way desktop computers work. Here’s why this paradigm shift is important:

My first home was new construction in Murfreesboro, TN, a small bedroom town 35 or so miles south-southeast of Nashville. My wife and I purchased it in early 2004. The house had wired networking ports throughout the house. This was a big deal, as it made it easier to put computers and networked devices just about anywhere.

When we moved BACK to Chicago in 2006 when a job transferred us, we bought an older home that was not hard Ethernet wired. It made computing in different rooms a bit difficult in the new Chicago house until I found and installed a wireless 802.11g access point (802.11g was the fastest thing going at the time; and I already had a 4 port wired router and didn’t want a wireless router…the location of the cable modem wouldn’t allow a wireless signal to get to all parts of the house). But then again, this was almost six years ago. The face of computing has changed since then. This is no more clearly evident than in the acceleration of smartphone and tablet use throughout the world.

With today’s more mobile computing, computing devices have to be more adaptable, have to be smarter, have to be able to understand what they have built in, connected to them, etc., and be able to adjust how they work to provide the consistent performance regardless of what they have and where they are. Both 3G/4G/LTE smartphones and tablets do this very well. They provide a consistent computing experience regardless of the type and kind of networking radio they have on or are receiving an internet signal from. They can reroute IP traffic from their cellular radios to a Wi-Fi radio without missing a beat should a known Wi-Fi network come in range while the Wi-Fi radio is on.

We’re seeing this kind of networking intelligence in laptops now. Mac OS X has been doing this for a while now. I’m a Mac, and run Windows 7 via Parallels Desktop. I have a Henge Dock docking station for my Early 2011 15″ MacBook Pro. When I work in my home office, I put the laptop in the dock, which has permanently connected cables for all available peripherals, including a wired network connection.

When I’m on the go, I use the PC’s Wi-Fi adapter to go online. When I’m at home in my office, I use wired Ethernet. My Mac is smart enough to drop the IP address held by the wireless adapter when it finds an active, wired Ethernet connection. The Wi-Fi adapter will acquire an IP address when the wired Ethernet is unplugged. This is managed at the OS level, and like (most of) the rest of OS X, just works.

Windows 8 also seems to have this same level of intelligence built into it at the OS level. With its improved battery life methods and processes built in, users don’t necessarily have to turn Wi-Fi on or off to either conserve power, or to prevent the PC from “getting confused” over which adapter to use for networking traffic.

This development is important, because I’ve noticed that its becoming easier to order a desktop PC with a Wi-Fi card in it. Many of the (perhaps) iMac inspired, all in one, touch based PC’s, from Dell or HP for example, come with both wired and wireless networking built in. Of course, laptops have had both networking adapters in them for years; and Microsoft is going to make Windows 8 the default OS, not only for the 30+ tablets due out this Fall, but for all Windows hardware. Users aren’t going to want to worry about turning things on and off (airplane mode aside) just to insure that they can get online without “confusing” their PC.

So, I’m off to rebuild my Windows 8 PC… Stay tuned to Soft32 for continued Windows 8 coverage.

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Make Internet apps run even through your office network

Don’t you hate it when your employer blocks certain kinds of applications simply based on file or traffic types? I know I do. I find it very frustrating when I am used to working a specific way and then have to change how I do what I do simply because an application I need has been blocked. If you find yourself in a situation like this, then you might want to take a quick look at Proxifier. It’s a multiplatform network utility.

Proxifier allows network applications that do not support working through proxy servers to operate through a SOCKS or HTTPS proxy and chains. With it, you can work with any Internet client through a proxy. You can improve network performance and ensure privacy. The app uses a flexible rule system, and has an easy to use yet powerful UI with live data.

Proxifier is a cool program that can help you route internet traffic through a single or chain of proxy servers to protect your privacy or to help you get key apps running when they might be blocked on specific networks. The biggest issue that I initially saw with the software was that it cannot be installed or used on a network that is already using proxies to govern network traffic. Those proxy settings have to be disabled before Proxifier can be installed and configured. Caution should therefore be used if you’re going to use this application at the office, as you could find yourself without any network or internet access if Proxifier conflicts with configuration scripts used in your enterprise.

Read full Review | Download Proxifier

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Pull video from just about any website or streaming service with All Video Downloader

Viral videos are all the rage. Ever since “Charlie bit me,” finding the cute videos and keeping them before they’re lost to obscurity and time hasn’t been easy. This is one of the reasons why like All Video Downloader. It’s a multiplatform, video downloading tool.

All Video Downloader is freeware that allows you to download your favorite videos from all the major streaming websites. You can easily download videos from Youtube, Dailymotion, Vimeo, PureVid, Metacafe, and both Google video and Yahoo video. All Video Downloader lets you download and extract audio from video or encode videos in format of your choice for your computer, iphone, ipod, ipad, or android phone. With its built-in download accelerator, you can grab your favorite videos from YouTube in just a few seconds.

All Video Downloader is a great program that’s easy to use. The videos that it pulls down can be viewed on your PC, Mac or any compatible mobile device. The controls are easily understandable. While the price is right, its support for adult sites may not make it the tool of choice for everyone.

Download All Video Downloader for Windows | Download All Video Downloader for Mac

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Backup and restore Firefox and Thunderbird with Ease

As great as it is to use Mozilla Firefox for browsing the Internet, and Thunderbird for sending and receiving emails, backing them up is quite hard for most of us. I’m talking about all those things you care about: bookmarks, mail, contacts, history, extensions, passwords and so on.

No matter which scenario are you having in mind – you reinstall your OS, your profile file gets corrupted, you move to a newer computer – you’ll want backup and than restore all the those thing you care about related to Firefox and Thunderbird. One of the best tools you could use to automatically back up Firefox and Thunderbird as well as Sunbird, Flock, Postbox (Express), SeaMonkey, Mozilla Suite, Spicebird, Songbird, Netscape and Wyzo is Mozbackup.

Mozbackup is a light tool which makes the process of backing up all those programs a stress-free experience. Without further introduction, lets start backing up Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird. Before launching MozBackup, make sure both programs are not running in the background. Now launch the application. Choose “Backup a profile”, select Mozilla Firefox from the list and click Next to continue. In the next step, we’ll have to choose a profile from the list and the backup location. If there is only one profile associated, click default. After this, MozBackup will offer you the option to password-protect your backup file, why not choose ‘yes’ – just in case. In the third step, choose which elements you want to back up and click Next to begin the process.

The same procedure goes for Thunderbird or any other supported applications. In case you want to restore your Firefox profile or your Thunderbid emails using a backup, launch MozBackup, choose “Restore a profile” and click Next. In the next step, select the profile you want to restore. An important thing to remember is that the profile you select will be overwritten by the contents of the profile that is backed up in the backup file. If you do not want to overwrite any of the profiles listed in the MozBackup screen, you should create a new profile by clicking on the “New Profile” button. After that, select the backup file that contains your backed-up profile. When done, click next to begin the restoration process.

Download Mozbackup

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Watch, share and host videos and files online in streaming with Cacaoweb

Cacaoweb is a free open-source plugin enabling users to upload, download, share and watch host videos and files online, bypassing any time restrictions for unpaid viewing. It makes use of data streaming so viewing can commence before the download is completed.

Downloading the software is straightforward, and can be done either before or after the content has been searched for and identified. Cacaoweb has its own content search engine and selecting a file or files to play will check for the software and prompt to download the app if it is not already present. It can be used in conjunction with other software components, for example, catalogues of hosted movies, which then install cacaoweb.exe and play the selected video.

Cacaoweb is entirely free to use and seems to perform well, although videos can freeze for a short time. The website is arranged clearly and elegantly.

The software runs on Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. It can be used to integrate large files, music or video to other websites; all the APIs and instructions are freely provided. You can control cacaoweb instances through HTTP calls. File uploading is to the cacaoweb P2P network. There are features around maintaining file metadata, for example, the title, year of release, season, episode, language and price information can all be maintained, however, once uploaded a file cannot be removed. There is a support forum, wiki and a GitHub for the control of its software revisions.

Download Cacaoweb for Windows | Download Cacaoweb for Mac

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Capture, burn, convert, copy and share digital media with Toast Titanium

Having a Mac usually means having a lot of multimedia on your PC. Having a lot of multimedia on your PC usually means you’re going to need a tool to help you capture and preserve it. That’s one of the reasons why I really like Toast Titanium. It’s one of the premier multimedia tools available for your Mac.

Toast is the fastest way to capture video from your AVCHD camcorder, with no lengthy imports. You can use just about any HD video source. With it, you can create stunning Blu-ray video or HD DVD discs for playback on compatible set top players as well as your PC.

Toast allows you to edit video clips. You can trim start and end points, remove unwanted segments in the middle of video clips before export, or even apply audio effects. You can capture any streaming Internet audio on your Mac, without interference from other apps or system sounds. Toast’s MusicID automatically adds artist and title tags to captured music for easy syncing to your iTunes library.

Capturing streaming web video is just as easy with Toast. You can save streaming video from your favorite web sites and then burn the content to DVD for viewing on your big-screen TV. Toast can even send it automatically to iTunes for syncing with your favorite iDevice.

You can digitize and restore your LP’s and tapes, without the pops, clicks and hisses. Toast’s audio filters and tools help you clean up your audio and then burn it to CD or DVD, or send to iTunes for syncing with your iDevice. Ripping audiobook CDs to iTunes, with chapters, pause/resume support and variable playback speeds is also easy with Toast. You can convert for enjoyment on iPad, iPhone, or your favorite on-the-go-device with just a few clicks.

Toast Titanium is THE audio and video editing and capture application for your PC or Mac. There are very few apps out there, in my opinion that are better at these tasks than Toast. It’s that good. The biggest problem, however with this app, is its price. At $79.99 as of this writing, it’s a bit on the pricey side unless you do a lot of audio-video editing on a regular basis or have a large project ahead of you, like converting your VHS-based home movies to DVD.

Download Toast Titanium for Mac

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Keep in touch with all of your Facebook friends with fTalk

Let’s face it. You use Facebook to keep up with your friends and family. You share pictures, stories, and stuff, and it’s a lot of fun. When it comes to connecting with friends, sometimes, getting the cute fluff out of the way so you can chat with yo’ peeps is just what is needed. This is the reason why I really like fTalk. It’s a multiplatform chat client, specifically designed to work with Facebook.

fTalk enhances your social media experience by taking Facebook to the next level. With fTalk, you can chat with your Facebook friends directly from your desktop, without having to run a browser and surf to Facebook. fTalk enables you to chat with your friends even when you’re at work or in a public environment where you don’t necessarily want to; or can’t open Facebook.  You can see which of your friends have logged in, you can change your status, use emoticons and even video chat! fTalk offers a fun and light Facebook chat experience; and its free.

fTalk is a decent app. It allows you to chat with your FB friends even without having an active FB session going in your browser. It’s very much like Skype for Facebook; or something similar. The app is great. I like it. However its only real value is that it automatically integrates with your FB account and pulls in all your FB Friends.  You could manually do that with Skype Windows Live Messenger, AIM or any other chat client that also supported video. While this doesn’t kill the application’s usefulness, it does limit you to just chatting or video calling to only your FB friends, and if someone does want to chat or video chat with you, they have to be your Facebook friend first.

download fTalk

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Keep hackers and data thieves out of your computer with ZoneAlarm Free

While more people use antivirus and antispyware software now than they used to, that software may not offer you the full level of protection you need. A firewall is the third point to your security triangle that will protect you while you surf the web.

A firewall acts as a bouncer to your computer. Every time someone tries to come in or leave, the firewall checks whether you want it to or not. Settings can be saved obviously, so you won’t need to tell them that your email client is safe every time you switch it on.

ZoneAlarm Free Firewall is, in our eyes, one of the best free firewalls. It has been around for over a decade and as a result, ZoneAlarm has gotten pretty good at blocking bad data. ZoneAlarm offers paid-for versions of the firewall as well, and while most of the additional features aren’t necessary (support for example), the ‘download protection’ is something worthwhile missing from the freeware.

ZoneAlarm Free is definitely better than having no firewall at all, but it still misses some security features that would be worthwhile having. ZoneAlarm isn’t the best looking software package and can seem a little intimidating to configure for a beginner, yet these are minor flaws for an application that could potentially save you from a hacker or software intrusion.

Download ZoneAlarm Free Firewall

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