TeamViewer the popular sharing tool for technical and non-technical alike

Team Viewer is an excellent screen-sharing and file-transfer application that is popular amongst the technical and non-technical alike.

This is due to the varied uses that are available through Team Viewer, with the apparatuses most popular devices being the remote troubleshooting of IT problems, the ability to manage servers in remote data centers or the allowance to let users connect to their desktop PCs when they’re away from the computer.

The installation process with Team Viewer is even impressive and even allows you to toggle administration rights. Once loaded Team Viewer gives each of its users the exact tools they need when they are looking to share screens securely, send files with no hassle and switch the user who has complete control.

This can occur because when you log in you’re provided with an access code and a password, which you can share, allowing your computer to be controlled to the level you have set it to. The Team Viewer even remembers the computers that you have connected to, which allows you to reconnect to previous PCs quickly and with no bother.

TeamViewer is free for personal use, easy to use, the integrated contact list allows you to support family and friends instantly, features extensive security mode and remote access. But the support and documentation is poor and it can be very expensive to use it professionally.

TeamViewer makes screen and file sharing simple and fluid as well as unobtrusive and is a worthy addition to any office or home for both professional and casual users.

read full review | download TeamViewer

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HMA! Pro VPN will hide your Internet activity for real

Easy Anonymity Covering Your Tracks Online

Using a Virtual Private Network can seem like a complicated endeavour, but ‘Hide My Ass’ makes it easy as pie. The desktop application is easy to use and intuitive however there are plenty of more advanced features for the experienced user and for beginners to try out as they get more comfortable. Installation is quick and simple, and you can be up and running within the hour.

Additional features include quick IP address changes either manually or an an automatic schedule, with over 15,000 IP addresses to choose from. However, they could do with a few more offshore servers. The support is good, however, if you are choosing a VPN because of a degree for privacy you may have concerns about their storage of your personal information and service logs.

It’s free to try, but only after you have paid the initial fee. If you cancel within the first 30 days your money is refunded to you. However, the fee of $11.52 per month or $6.55 per month for a year’s subscription is solidly in the middle of the range.

While there are some privacy concerns and a need for more offshore servers, overall the features available are top of the line for a good price. Certainly worth the 30 day trial.

read the entire review | download HMA! Pro VPN

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Nokia Windows 8 tablet to hit the stores in early 2012

With analysts predicting an explosion in computer tablets sales over the next four years, Nokia have joined forces with Microsoft in a bid to break Apple’s iron grip on the market.

The new Nokia Windows 8 tablet which is set to hit the stores some time in 2012 has been designed to seriously challenge the might of the iPad.

Yet, exactly what special attributes will this “new kid on the block” posses to make it a serious contender for Apple’s heavyweight belt. And will its potential success dramatically alter the course of Nokia’s future and fortunes.

Nokia have already tied their colors to Microsoft’s mast and launched a number of Windows Phone handsets in a bid to rejuvenate its smartphone line-up and keep pace with not only Apple, but other rivals such as Samsung that use Google’s Android operating system.

Now the two technological giants are yet again pooling their impressive resources and attempting to make inroads into Apple’s dominance by launching their very own tablet.

Nokia is no stranger to tablets. In 2007 they introduced the unsuspecting public to the Nokia N810, but the keyboard sporting device was always doomed to failure in the same year that the iPhone was busy revolutionizing technology and the way we interact with it.

Other rivals of Apple have already lost millions trying to compete on level terms with the iPad, so how will Nokia’s foray into this difficult market be any different.

For a start the Nokia tablet’s operating system will be the yet to be released Windows 8 software, which will attract hordes of die-hard Microsoft adherents and bait the curiosity of those slightly disappointed with the limitations of the iPad.

Microsoft is still to confirm the exact release of Window 8, but with the company promising to update the platform every three years, it will be due for release some time in 2012, and all Microsoft updates generate mass interest in the technology loving public.

Microsoft has already committed itself to the tune of one billion dollars in ensuring that Nokia’s Windows Phone competes on a level playing field with Apple’s iOS and the Android, and it is guaranteed they will maintain the same levels of focus and commitment to make the Nokia Windows 8 tablet a success.

Since its launch in January 2010, Apple has led the charge in the tablet market and has shifted more than 40 million units. It’s only rivals to date have had an appalling reaction in terms of sales. At the last count, BlackBerry maker RIM had only shipped 700,000 of its PlayBooks and after only 48 days Hewlett-Packard canceled its ill-fated TouchPad.

The last time Nokia made a major foray into the world of computers, was in 2009 with the small laptop – Booklet 3G, and that has remained a niche product, but with the backing of Microsoft and the excitement being generated by Windows 8, the market is Nokia’s for the taking.

As Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said earlier this November, “There’s a new tablet opportunity coming. We see the opportunity. Unquestionably, that will change the dynamics of the tablet market.”

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OpenOffice – the most popular free office software suites

Over the years, I’ve had a number of people come to me asking for help picking a word processor, spreadsheet, Office component or full suite. While MS Office is the defacto standard for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations, it IS rather expensive. Not everyone can afford its heavy down stroke, even though it can be heavily discounted. That’s why I’m thankful for things like Oracle’s OpenOffice.org. It’s an MS Office compatible office suite and its available for multiple platforms.

OpenOffice.org 3 is the leading open-source office suite, and includes applications for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, and databases. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in a standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages, including Microsoft Office.

OpenOffice.org 3 is easy to learn. If you’ve used Microsoft Office, or a similar set of tools, OpenOffice.org will be familiar and comfortable to you. Best of all, OpenOffice.org 3 can be downloaded and used for free.

Having a free, open source alternative to Microsoft Office, especially for budget conscious families and students is important. Though Microsoft has a student version of Office, it’s still somewhat expensive. OpenOffice offers Microsoft Office (as well as other) suite compatibility in a familiar environment. The tools are intuitive and easy to use, especially if you’ve used Office Suite products before, and at this price point, it’s really hard to beat.

Caution should be exercised however, when reading and writing MS Office (and other suite) compatible file formats. While OpenOffice.org is MS Office compatible, it is NOT MS Office. Basic formatting in all your documents (bold, italics, bullets, etc.) will likely transfer in and out of OpenOffice without issues or concerns. Some of your heavily formatted documents may be read and worked with under the OpenOffice component in question, but upon reediting in MS Office, the formatting of the information in the file may be corrupted, requiring a great deal of rework.

Read the entire Review | Download OpenOffice

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Backup protected DVD to ISO and burn ISO to DVD for free

BDlot DVD ISO Master is a breeze to use from download to your final product. You start off with a 2.5 MB zip file and in less than a minute have BDlot DVD ISO Master fully installed. The program itself is small and easy to navigate – it is just a single window featuring two tabs. One tab is for converting DVDs to ISOs and the other is for burning your ISOs to DVD. Using the program is also highly intuitive, and basically idiot-proof. You just need to select your DVD and then select your ISO’s save destination. If you want to you can remove region coding and some copy protection, but in either case when you are ready to go the giant blue ‘Run’ button makes it obvious what you need to do. In a few minutes, your DVD will be converted to an ISO with no change in size. The ISO burner in the next tab is equally simple to use.

This program simply couldn’t be simpler, and while there are a few options such as video downsizing and notifications that could be nice, overall any criticism just feel like nit-picking. A lovely little program.

Download BDlot DVD ISO Master

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Good functionality outweighs some real problems – System Mechanic

As the pared down version of the pay-version System Mechanic Free is of course not going to offer quite the same level of options and functionality, however it performs all the basic tasks of privacy protection, registry cleanup, optimization and removal of hidden files. The ActiveCare automatic feature is handy for giving a basic level of optimisation for novice users, and the experienced can get in behind the hood and customise it to their preferences. System Mechanics Free also incorporates extra features that would normally be handled by other programs such as spyware removal, disk defragmentation and control of programs that run automatically on startup.

That’s not to say there aren’t a few downsides. Some of the more advanced tools can be difficult to handle such as the option to restore your system to a previous state. This function is less than obvious in the interface and doesn’t allow restoring of individual items. System Mechanic Free can also interact poorly with programs like AVG, which can be quite frustrating.

Overall, System Mechanic Free is a good program that can outperform many other free programs with its core features and also offers some handy extras. However the difficulty of using some advanced features and its problematic interaction with other programs can be a cause for frustration.

Download System Mechanic

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Mozilla Firefox 8 cannot surpass Google’s Chrome

Lean, mean Mozilla update brings welcome improvements and enhancements.

Mozilla Firefox 8 is the latest major update to the popular web browser and includes a wealth of new improvements and features. Add-ons have long been a hallmark of the Firefox experience, allowing users to customise their browsing experience to their own preferences. The update has made a few improvements to the add-on system, including default disabling of add-ons installed by third-party programs, and a new system for managing installed add-ons. Twitter has been incorporated into the search bar in a particularly handy fashion. Tab organization has also been updated with a new preference allowing the loading of tabs on demand. This feature also helps to speed up start-up time.

Beneath the hood, the update has added in better support for HTML5, although Firefox still lags behind Chrome in this regard. Overall the update offers better performance and memory use than previously with increased graphics acceleration as well. On the downside Mozilla Firefox 8 features no built in PDF reader, flash or instant page view as can be found in Chrome, and the HTML5 support is behind Chrome. It is said that the startup speed has improved but it still lags behind that of IE9 and Chrome.

download Mozilla Firefox 8

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Siri-like alternatives for Android

Iris is… Siri in reverse and it’s inspired from the iPhone 4S feature: Siri. Iris makes your phone talk on topics ranging from Einstein to Mozart. Well, to me it is more as a voice assisted Google search but there is potential in this app and if you ask the right thing, Iris will talk to you about things ranging from Philosophy, Culture, History, science to general conversation. As I noticed, for all queries based on common topics, Iris is likely to provide you with information from Wikipedia.

Note: You need to have “Voice Search” and “TTS library” installed in your phone for Iris. to work. Most of the phones have these pre-installed, if not please install them from Android market before you try Iris.

What can Iris actually do?

  • Call someone
  • Text someone
  • Search something (on the web)
  • Lookup for a contact

What’s new in version 2.12 alpha ?

  • Ice cream Sandwich Inspired user interface
  • New Design, new logo.

Download Iris

Skyvi is another “Siri for Android” and knows about everything from local businesses to food nutrition! Skyvi makes witty remarks and even tells jokes. The app has a social side too, letting you access Facebook and Twitter using voice.

Key features in Skyvi:

  • Fun chats, witty remarks, tells jokes
  • Access Facebook with voice
  • Access Twitter with voice
  • Tweet or Update Facebook with Voice

What’s new in version 1.0 ?

  • Facebook / Twitter integration is optional
  • Major Speed improvements
  • Ongoing notifications can be toggled
  • Witty remarks, jokes, and personality added
  • You can ask now for things near you

Download Skyvi

If you’re looking just for an app which do accept voice commands (e.g.: to drive more safely) and perform predefined actions such as:

  • Send texts and emails
  • Voice dialSearch the web
  • Find local restaurants, shops and other businesses
  • Get directions
  • Update your status on Facebook or Twitter and check in with foursquare
  • Get answers to just about any question
  • Buy movie tickets and book hotel rooms
  • Open other apps and so on,

you may want to try Vlingo and/or Sonalight, however, these apps can’t be deemed as Siri-like assistants.

 

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