Protect and maintain your PC using Advanced SystemCare with Antivirus 2012

Keeping your PC free of viruses, Trojans and worms isn’t always an easy thing to do. There’s a great deal of malware out there, and not nearly as many antivirus and antimalware apps. Finding the right one for you can be a bit of a chore. This is one of the reasons why you might like Advanced SystemCare with Antivirus. It’s a system utility suite for Windows.

Based on both BitDefender antivirus technology and the IObit anti-malware engine, Advanced SystemCare with Antivirus incorporates top anti-virus capabilities with an already proven comprehensive PC tune-up utility. With its real-time antimalware protection and powerful tune-up and cleaning functionality, Advanced SystemCare with Antivirus provides always-on, automated, all-in-one protection against all kinds of security threats, system slowdowns, freezes and crashes. It ensures PC security, and maintains maximum computer performance automatically without a performance hit.

Besides its newly built-in antivirus functionality, Advanced SystemCare with Antivirus includes all of the PRO features of Advanced SystemCare. It features one click to clean functionality to root out hidden and stubborn Viruses, Trojans, worms, spyware, and adware. It also provides rapid virus database updating.

Advanced SystemCare with Antivirus’ proactive virus control technology monitors process behavior in real-time. It scans files shared with email and blocks possible threats. It’s already proven, powerful, PC tune-up utility unleashes the full power of your PC; and its ActiveBoost feature, your system resources are intelligently managed.

Advanced SystemCare with Antivirus is a decent utility suite. It’s all in one design insures that your PC not only runs at peak performance, but that it stays malware free. The only issue we found with it is its non-standard interface, which requires extra resources to run. However, given the amount of benefit you’ll receive from the app, you may not notice or mind the minimal performance hit you may take.

Download Advanced SystemCare with Antivirus 2012 (beta)

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Take complete control of your hard drive with Hard Disk Manager Suite

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past five to six years of being a Mac, its that hard drive management under OS X is MUCH easier than under Windows.  With OS X, upgrading to a larger, bigger, better, faster, stronger hard drive is as easy as making a copy of your hard. There are some really nice utilities out there that do that very well. With Windows machines, its not even remotely close to being that easy. This is why I really like tools like Hard Disk Manager Suite. It’s a hard drive utility for Windows.

Paragon’s Hard Disk Manager Suite is a serious hard drive tool.  Its advanced weaponry for your Windows system and as such, isn’t for people that aren’t comfortable working under the hood.  It has a completely new engine for all partitioning tasks; and works generically with all modern hard drive technologies, regardless of spindle type, drive size, rotation speed, etc.

You can use it to create, format, delete, undelete, hide or unhide partitions, make partitions active or inactive, set, change or remove a drive letter, change a volume label, etc.  You can separate the OS and your data or different types of data by splitting one partition into two different partitions of the same type and file system.  You can merge or consolidate disk space from two adjacent partitions (NTFS, FAT16/FAT32), into a single, larger partition, redistribute free space, or increase free space on one partition by utilizing unallocated space and the unused space of other partitions.

Hard disk Manager Suite will let you optimize the performance of your hard disk during partitioning/copy operations and restoring a backup image to new hard drives, though not all operations are supported.  You can convert basic MBR to basic GPT disks and enjoy all benefits of the newest partitioning scheme with minimal effort.  The app also allows you to perform NTFS and FAT defragmentation, MFT defragmentation and shrinking, low free space defragmentation and can fix most system boot problems that result from human or program error, or a boot virus activity.

read full review | download Hard Disk Manager Suite

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OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Developer Preview 4

There’s a lot of iOS based improvement going into Apple’s newest Operating System, OS X 10.8, code named, Mountain Lion. Let’s take a look at how it and iOS are converging.

Soft32 covered the recent release of Apple’s Mountain Lion Developer Preview 3 earlier this month (Review). Shortly after the review was completed, Apple released Developer Preview 4. What you’ll see here is the analysis that we’ve been able to do on the changes between the two prerelease states of the latest Mac operating system.

Since the release of Mountain Lion Developer Preview 4, Apple has also released an update to it, via its new update mechanism in the Mac App Store. Here, we’re going to look at the changes between Dev Preview 3 and Dev Preview 4, as well as the changes that Apple released in Dev Preview 4 Update.

Hardware and Software Requirements
Mountain Lion won’t run on every Mac. You’re going to need to have one of the following supported models in order to run Mountain Lion.

  • iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)

If you’re upgrading a supported Mac, you’re also going to need to be running a minimum of Snow Leopard 10.6.8. In some cases, you may need to purchase a Snow Leopard upgrade for $29.99, if you don’t already have it, before you upgrade to Mountain Lion at $19.99. Users running Leopard and have a MobileMe account need to upgrade to Snow Leopard in order to move to iCloud. Those users can get a Snow Leopard DVD for free, saving you the original $30 bucks.

Mac App Store
Apple is doing away with Software Update and relying on the Mac App Store to present appropriate OS updates to end users in Mountain Lion. Apple recently tested this new update process by offering a number of Mountain Lion Developer Preview 4 updates through the Mac App Store. Like in Software Update, you can choose which components to install and which ones to ignore. Its not an all or nothing deal. The components also come with release notes that allow you to click on them to display all of the notes for that specific update.

iOS 6 is due to be released in the Fall with iPhone 5, or whatever they end up calling the new Apple smartphone. One of the big updates to Reminders in iOS 6 is Geofencing, or the ability to trigger system events after you cross a geographical location.

In Mountain Lion, Reminders allows you to create a task or to-do list, to set the date and time you want the reminders to go off. You get the the ability to push them to all of your iDevices. Having Reminders on your Mac also means you get the ability to search through and view them on your calendar.

The one feature that Reminders doesn’t do on your Mac is provide full geofencing support. Laptops don’t have built in GPS receivers, so reminders on the desktop aren’t triggered via a geofence line.

iCloud Integration
Mountain Lion is more complete in Developer Preview 4. The big change comes at the start of the OS, where you’re asked to provide your AppleID and password for the iCloud Preference pane so it can log you in and/or create your iCloud account.

Mountain Lion is not a revolution set of changes for desktop Mac users. Like its iOS mobile operating system, Apple is content to introduce carefully engineered and designed evolutionary change. This is a repeat of the same behavior Apple introduced with its Leopard to Snow Leopard based upgrade path. They didn’t introduce any further radical changes until they changed “cat families” with the introduction of Lion in July of 2011. However, this wasn’t too radical of a change, either.

While this desktop evolution doesn’t provide for huge innovative strides, it does insure that the current user base is smoothly able to nurture and navigate their usage habits through the changes Apple has made. As such, Apple maintains their, “it just works,” user perception. As they are making a push for the enterprise, this is a huge gain.

In contrast, Microsoft’s upgrade to Windows Vista from Windows XP in 2007 created a huge amount of panic in the enterprise, as users couldn’t understand the logic or reasoning behind the UI changes. With Mountain Lion, those users migrating from Lion won’t have too much trouble making the switch.

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OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Developer Preview 3

There’s a lot of iOS based improvement going into Apple’s newest Operating System, OS X 10.8, code named, Mountain Lion. Let’s take a look at how it and iOS are converging.

There’s been a lot going on in Cupertino since February of this year. Apple has been hard at work pulling together the latest version of its new desktop operating system, OS X 10.8, code named Mountain Lion. Apple is, at least in some sense, converging their two most successful platforms – iOS, which it uses to power all of its mobile devices; and OS X, which powers all of its desktops and laptops. With the iPad parked squarely between the two platforms (but powered by iOS), Apple is trying to build synergy between the two platforms so that users can easily use both without a experiencing any jarring transitions.

The effort is commendable. There are a great many Apple customers who own not only an iPod Touch or iPhone, but an iPad as well as a desktop/laptop Mac. Bringing the two together was something that Steve wanted to do. Let’s take a look at where the two converge and the value they provide, if any.

Messages Beta
Byte covered Messages Beta, and the features it brings to the desktop, in an extensive deep dive. Messages Beta is available for download on Mac’s running Lion, and will be usable until the new OS is officially available for purchase in the App Store. At that point, Messages will stop functioning in Lion, and those users who wish to keep using it will need to upgrade to Mountain Lion.

Applications like Growl have been providing system notifications in OS X for quite some time. Apple has finally brought the same kind of functionality as you see in Growl, to Mountain Lion by integrating system wide notification into the operating system. The actual implementation takes its queues directly from iOS. They share a similar tray background, look and feel.

When system or app events occur on your Mac, those notifications will appear in the upper right corner of your screen, in a self-hiding event tray that slides out on the right side, as opposed to coming down from the center of the screen as it does on your iPad or iPhone. System event notifications disappear after a few moments have passed. Other notification types need to be dismissed by the user.

How, if at all, this will work or conflict with notification apps like Growl is yet to be known or understood. Growl is a long standing, value added application that many have used for YEARS simply because OS X didn’t support this type of functionality. It’s quite possible that Growl may be out of a job…

Combining Reminders with Siri on the iPhone 4S is pretty awesome. All you have to do to set one on your iPhone is to ask Siri to, “remind [you] to do ‘X’ [at] ‘Y’, ” with X being the thing you want the reminder to remind you to do, and Y being when you want the reminder to go off. In Mountain Lion, Apple brings the Reminders app to the desktop, but without Siri. You get everything you’ve got on the iPhone (again, minus Siri) as well as a couple other cool additions.

On the desktop, Reminders allows you to create a task or to-do list, set the date and time you want the reminders to go off and the ability to push them to all of your iDevices. Having this on your Mac also means you get the ability to search through your reminders and view them on your calendar.

The one feature that Reminders doesn’t do on your Mac is “remind [you] to do ‘X’ when you get to ‘Z’,” with X again being the thing you want to do, and Z being the location where you want to do it. For example, again on your iPhone, “Siri, remind me to call home when I leave the office.” Location services aren’t built into Mountain Lion, so reminders on the desktop aren’t location aware.

iCloud Integration
Mountain Lion is the first edition of OS X that includes built in iCloud integration from its initial release. Yes, Lion has it; but it’s an update introduced add-on. With Mountain Lion, Apple gives you access to cloud-based sync services for Notes, Reminders and Messages/iMessage between your Mac and your iDevice.

Documents and changes to those documents stored there will also sync back and forth between your Mac and iDevice. An additional feature coming for documents in the cloud is Document Library. Aside from giving you access to the latest revision of any document created with an iCloud supported app, Document Library also gives you the ability to create folders by dragging one document on top of another, as you do with shortcuts on an iDevice home page, today. Document Library will also support file sharing, making it easy for you to share stuff with those you know via Mail, Messages and AirDrop.

Continue reading…

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E3 2012 Report

E3 2012 took place in Los Angeles,  from June 5 to June 7. Overall 45,700 video game industry professionals, investor analysts, journalists, and retailers from 103 countries attended the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 2012). E3 resulted in an estimated 30,000 total hotel room nights and generated nearly $40 million in revenue for the city. Approximately 200 exhibitors showcased the latest in computer and video game hardware and software, including the unveiling of the titles that will be the hottest titles among consumers.

We have gathered the crumbs and build an overall picture of what we have to expect from this year’s gaming industry. There are many new video games coming next year, a lot of them sequels to established franchises and many choices regardless of the console you own. If you could not make it to E3, here are some of the biggest highlights below:

Halo 4

“Halo 4” marks the return of Master Chief and the beginning of a new saga in the blockbuster franchise that has shaped entertainment history. E3 2012 marked the worldwide premiere of “Halo Infinity Multiplayer,” including the all-new, story-driven experience known as Spartan Ops. A first of its kind, Spartan Ops is an episodic adventure — playable in single-player or cooperatively with up to four players — that blends immersive storytelling, high-quality cinematics and action-packed gameplay to deliver an unprecedented serialized experience. Spartan Ops will extend the “Halo 4” experience well beyond the game’s launch. “Halo 4” hits store shelves on Nov. 6, 2012, delivering its most epic and explorative campaign yet, together with groundbreaking multiplayer action.

Resident Evil 6

“Resident Evil® 6” features three distinct, yet interwoven, storylines, each with its own pair of protagonists for either solo or co-op play, both offline and online. Leon S. Kennedy is paired with government agent Helena Harper, while Chris Redfield teams up with fellow BSAA member Piers Nivans. Finally, gun- for-hire and son of the infamous Albert Wesker, Jake Muller is joined by series returner Sherry Birkin. All six must face new horrors as they fight to survive the global C-virus outbreak. Blending both action and survival horror, “Resident Evil® 6” promises to be the dramatic horror experience of 2012.

Tomb Raider

Armed with only the raw instincts and physical ability to push beyond the limits of human endurance, “Tomb Raider” delivers an intense and gritty story into the origins of Lara Croft and her ascent from a frightened young woman to a hardened survivor.

Gears of War: Judgement

“Gears of War: Judgment” takes you back before the events of the original “Gears of War” trilogy to the immediate aftermath of Emergence Day — the defining event of the “Gears of War” universe. Follow Kilo Squad, led by Damon Baird and Augustus “The Cole Train” Cole, as they fight to save the city of Halvo Bay from an unstoppable enemy in the most intense “Gears” game yet. “Gears of War: Judgment” introduces a variety of new multiplayer experiences, including OverRun, a thrilling new class-based competitive mode that will pit Locust and COG soldiers in a head-to-head battle unlike anything “Gears” fans have experienced yet. “Gears of War: Judgment” will launch worldwide in early 2013.

Forza Horizon

Combining the legendary “Forza Motorsport” authenticity with a festival atmosphere and the freedom of the open road, “Forza Horizon” is a high-intensity, action-racing game set against the backdrop of the world’s most unique motorsport party. Featuring an expansive landscape, daring driving maneuvers to master, a rousing soundtrack and visceral moment-to-moment gameplay, “Forza Horizon” offers an immersive pick-up-and-play experience while retaining the unrivaled realism, diversity and innovation that are hallmarks of the “Forza Motorsport” franchise.

Fable: The Journey

“Fable: The Journey” offers a whole new way to experience the deep storyline and picturesque world of Albion that fans have come to know and love. Set 50 years after the events of “Fable III,” this new version asks you to come to the aid of the mysterious Theresa, who thrusts you into an action-packed adventure full of dangerous enemies, hair-raising chases and humorous characters. Built from the ground up for Kinect, “Fable: The Journey” gives you the power to wield magic as a deadly weapon, defend yourself in combat and solve puzzles on your journey to becoming a hero.”Fable The Journey” will launch on Oct. 9, 2012, in North America, South America, Asia and Australia and Oct. 12, 2012, in EMEA.

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Apple’s Disposable MacBooks

I have seen the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display, and I’m not buying one.

I really like Apple’s products. I do. Really; but I don’t like the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Believe me when I say, it’s not the display that’s the problem.

I made a recent trip to the Apple Store and was able to look at, handle, pick it up, etc. It’s very thin for a 15″ laptop. I was impressed with the build quality and the form factor. The display…was STUNNING. However, nothing is physically wrong with the PC…other than “once you buy the prize, it’s yours to keep.” In other words, you can’t upgrade it, in any way… EVER.

Due to a number of different tear downs that were performed on the device, it’s clear that the new notebook contains:

  • RAM soldered to a logic board
  • A Proprietary SSD
  • A unified display assembly
  • A battery that’s glued to the case

There are no user serviceable components. You can’t upgrade ANYTHING in this notebook. If you can’t afford to buy the max configured unit, which costs a max amount of $3857.00 USD, before tax and shipping, if you max out all components, including the processor as well as purchase a USB SuperDrive and Thunderbolt Gigabit Ethernet Adapter. If you add AppleCare to the package, which I would HIGHLY recommend based on how the PC is manufactured and the fact that nothing is upgradable, the price tops $4206.00 USD.

My Early 2011 15″ MBP is the top of the line 15″ MBP. It was $2799. The new MBP is $1058 USD ($1407 USD with AppleCare) MORE than the previous generation top of the line MBP.

Paying that is pure insanity unless you’re part of the so called 1%, here in the US.

The biggest problem with the device is not the price. It’s not the lack of end-user upgradable components, per se. It’s the fact that the devices really aren’t recyclable, despite what Apple says.

None of the internal components can be recycled, according to some articles I’ve seen. It may be possible to “shred” the device once it reaches end of life and won’t work any longer; but it’s unclear whether the refuse can be recycled. It depends on the resins and glues used.

When you combine the price point of the unit with the non-upgradeability and current recycling status, you get a disposable PC.

That’s sad.

A neighbor of mine is looking for a new MacBook and is interested in the high end 13″ MBP; but those units are currently only available in 4GB or 8GB RAM configurations. I called the Apple Store to ask them about this and while the PC’s (any of the new non-retina MBP’s) MAY be able to support more than 8GB of RAM or 1TB HDD/512GB proprietary SSD, Apple doesn’t support it, and may not honor warranties IF your PC comes in for repair with greater than 8GB of ram or the any other HDD/SSD configuration other than their configurator contains.

Apple simply doesn’t want to support non-standard configurations; and it appears that most users won’t care, as most just turn the switch on and use what they purchased. They don’t tweak or play with the hardware.

However, this is problematic due to the high price point of the laptops. You want to be able to grow the laptop a bit and at least upgrade the RAM and hard drive so you can store and do more over a longer period of time. The PC is too expensive NOT to do, or want to do, that.

I’m not going to purchase a new laptop for a while yet. The one I purchased last year should do me for at LEAST another couple of years. However, what to purchase after that isn’t as clear cut a choice as it used to be.

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Microsoft unveils its own tablets running Windows 8

Yesterday at an event in Hollywood, Microsoft unveiled Surface – its own-brand family of tablets – “an unique expression of entertainment and creativity. As presented, there will be two models of the tablet available: one running an ARM processor featuring Windows RT, and one with a third-generation Intel Core processor featuring Windows 8 Pro.

Tablet highlights:

  • Software takes center stage: Surface sports a full-sized USB port and a 16:9 aspect ratio – the industry standard for HD. It has edges angled at 22 degrees, a natural position for the PC at rest or in active use, letting the hardware fade into the background and the software stand out.
  • VaporMg: The casing of Surface is created using a unique approach called VaporMg (pronounced Vapor-Mag), a combination of material selection and process to mold metal and deposit particles that creates a finish akin to a luxury watch. Starting with magnesium, parts can be molded as thin as .65 mm, thinner than the typical credit card, to create a product that is thin, light and rigid/strong.
  • Integrated Kickstand: The unique VaporMg approach also enables a built-in kickstand that lets you transition Surface from active use to passive consumption – watching a movie or even using the HD front- or rear-facing video cameras. The kickstand is there when needed, and disappears when not in use, with no extra weight or thickness.
  • Touch Cover: The 3 mm Touch Cover represents a step forward in human-computer interface. Using a unique pressure-sensitive technology, Touch Cover senses keystrokes as gestures, enabling you to touch type significantly faster than with an on-screen keyboard. It will be available in a selection of vibrant colors. Touch Cover clicks into Surface via a built-in magnetic connector, forming a natural spine like you find on a book, and works as a protective cover. You can also click in a 5 mm-thin Type Cover that adds moving keys for a more traditional typing feel.

Surface for Windows RT will release with the general availability of Windows 8, and the Windows 8 Pro model will be available about 90 days later. Both will be sold in the Microsoft Store locations in the U.S. and available through select online Microsoft Stores.

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Microsoft Mobility – I Don’t Think They Get It…STILL: Part 2

I’ve quipped on leadership before, but fer cryin’ out loud – I’m DYIN’ over here

There’s a lot happening over here at Soft32.  I’ve been doing deep dives on both Apple and Microsoft operating systems and you should be able to see them on Soft32 shortly.  2012 is definitely the year of the new OS; and Soft32 is committed to keeping you up to date on all of the developments.

Last time I was talking about how Microsoft needs to severely clarify the differences between Windows 8 and Windows RT.  Let’s get back into it and I’ll let you in on what I’m seeing out of Redmond with both Windows 8 and RT.

Microsoft is currently marketing Windows 8 and Windows RT as a tablet-based OS.  Windows 8 will run on Intel based machines and will include desktops, laptops (including TabletPC’s) and (slate based) tablets, similar to the iPad in form factor. Windows RT will run on ARM based tablets, and ARM based tablets ONLY.

Do you see the common element?  Tablets.  Both will run on slate based tablets.  An Intel based tablet will run the full blown version of Windows 8, which will include a desktop mode.  An ARM base tablet will run Windows RT and will NOT include a desktop mode.  ARM based tablets will support Microsoft’s new UI –  Metro – only.

The problem comes in from an end user perspective. Both Windows 8 tablets run, well…Windows 8; and I don’t think the average user is going to understand the difference between the two tablets.

What’s the difference?  Simple…Windows RT is a direct iOS, and therefore, iPad competitor. The two share the Windows 8 app store; and I don’t think users are going to be able to correctly distinguish between the two different tablets, OS’ and app versions.  It’s very likely that users will have a Windows RT tablet at, say, work…and a Windows 8 desktop/laptop at home.  The Windows 8  app store will sell both legacy desktop Windows software that will run on Windows 8 and Metro apps.

I’m certain that a Windows RT user is going to buy a Windows 8 app in the app store and then get frustrated when they can’t install it on a Windows RT tablet. The similarity between the two operating systems is going to create a huge amount of user confusion. Microsoft is pushing the perception that they are the same OS. Users will see this, and want to install apps from their Windows 8 machine to their Windows 8 tablet.

Windows RT is also not available for purchase or install, anywhere. The only way you get it is if you buy a device that has it on it. This will also confuse consumers, as some head to their local big-box retailer meaning to purchase it.

Windows 8 is great for mobile devices as touch is its focus, and that’s how users interact with those devices. The desktop experience hasn’t responded well to touch. If it did, PC’s like the HP TouchSmart, the Dell Studio One or Inspiron One or Lenovo Idea Center would be everywhere, and they clearly aren’t.

Microsoft needs leadership. It needs vision. It needs direction. It needs Windows 8 not to suck…and I am truly afraid that they are going to lose out on all counts…

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