Discretion, Being the Better Part of Valor…

Here’s some of the BEST advice when it comes to making system upgrades; and something that everyone should consider before taking the upgrade plunge

Apple released Mountain Lion OS X 10.8 yesterday.  Like many, I pulled down the OS update yesterday, but I haven’t pulled the trigger just yet. Some have scratched their heads when I relay that bit of news, others look me in the eye and see wisdom.  Let’s take a quick look at that and digest it a bit.

Mountain Lion is NOT the same kind of upgrade to 10.7 Lion that Snow Leopard was to Apple’s 10.5 Leopard.  OS X 10.8 is a HUGE upgrade, and there are a few considerations that you need to take into account before you perform the upgrade, because, “once you buy the prize, it’s yours to keep.”  In other words, with OS X 10.7 Lion now removed from the App store and Apple Store shelves, if you make a mistake, recovery will likely be a long, painful and difficult road at best.

Discretion being the better part of valor, I’d wait a bit before upgrading to Mountain Lion.  I’ve run the Developer Previews on my Mac and you need to know that there are a number of apps out there that do NOT play and work well under it just yet.

If you’ve got a critical legacy app that you’re concerned about, you need to check Roaring Apps for a Mountain Lion compatibility rating.  The site rates the compatibility of a number of different apps and app versions and let s you know which ones will run, and how well they will run, on both Lion and Mountain Lion.

The biggest point here is that 3rd party app developers have only had the final Gold Master code for just over two weeks.  This means that while they may have been developing, tweaking and fixing things under Mountain Lion Developer Preview releases, they’ve had less than 21 days to test, tweak, fix and resubmit bug app updates to Apple for all of their Mountain Lion compatible apps.

I’ve been a software quality and testing professional for more than 20 years. On an operating system update as large as Mountain Lion, this clearly isn’t enough time to work out all the kinks.

So, here’s my recommendation to most everyone wondering if they should take the plunge now, or if they should wait – I’d wait.

If you’re a regular consumer, I’d wait about a week or two, giving app developers additional time to submit updates to their apps not only to the Mac App Store, but their own web stores and other download sites, like Soft32.

If you’re a small business user, I’d give it a couple of months at least. Not only do you want 3rd party app updates to come through, you want Apple to have time to issue an update to the OS and make sure that there aren’t any other hidden pot holes or bumps in the road.

If you simply MUST be an early adopter and install Mountain Lion on a machine you’re going to be using pretty much every day, then you need to make certain that you provide feedback to both Apple as well as the vendors of the apps you are using so they know about the problems and challenges you’re bumping into.  It’s likely the only way the problems are going to get resolved quickly…

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Manage your monitors with MultiMonitorTool

More than one monitor to a single working station can be a tricky fact for someone that uses the Windows operating system. In order to manage multiple monitors you need a useful application that can offer enough flexibility and simplicity. MultiMonitorTool is the one for this type of job, an utility that allows you to do some actions related to working with multiple monitors.

Like all other NirSoft products MultiMonitorTool is a tiny piece of software that can disable/enable monitors, set the primary monitor, save and load the configuration of all monitors, and move windows from one monitor to another. All these actions can be performed from the user interface or from the command-line. For a better visualization, MultiMonitorTool also provides a preview window, which allows you to watch a preview of every monitor on your system. It might be useful if non-primary monitors are turned off and you want to view the windows displayed in the other monitors.

The user interface of MultiMonitorTool contains 2 panes: an upper one that displays the list of all monitors detected on your system, and a lower one that displays the details of all visible windows on the selected monitor. In this way you can easily save the current configuration of all monitors on your system, including the screen resolution, colors depth, and monitor position of every monitor. This is useful when you make changes and you are not satisfied with the settings of you monitors because you can restore back the saved monitors configuration.

This utility works on any version of Windows for both 32-bit and x64 systems without requiring any type of installation or additional dll files. Just run the executable file, and the utility will start instantly.

download MultiMonitorTool

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Change you voice with Skype Voice Changer

This is more about demonstrating a clever technology than providing a genuinely useful service. With that in mind, it’s certainly fun to play about with.

Skype Voice Changer is based on the numerous applications that are available to artificially alter voices. Some of us have tried out such tools before, while many of us have encountered them in the form of special effects or, most memorably and horrifically, in a certain teenage girl’s song about her favorite day of the week that caused a storm on YouTube.

What’s different about this software is that it works in real time. Rather than take an entire recording and work its magic, it aims to alter your voice so quickly that you can hold a conversation with your chat partner hearing your distorted voice without any obvious delays.

The control set-up is simple but effective. You start by choosing from a range of pre-set filters and effects, then make the call on Skype. While talking, you can tweak features such as pitch and echo, with the changes taking immediate effect without you needing to restart the software or the call.

Frankly there will be few reasons why you’d want to use this regularly unless you are really into crank calls. That said, it’s certainly worth a look if you have an elderly relative who often wonders at “the things they can do with computers nowadays.”

download Skype Voice Changer

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Create backup copies of your DVD movie collection with CloneDVD

Making backup copies of a DVD has always been a problem for many people. Many states have fair use copyright provisions for making backup copies of movies and software.  If you purchase a copy, the content isn’t yours, but the media is, and you’re entitled to make a backup of that content in anticipation that something may happen to the media you purchased. So, you need an optical disk backup utility for Windows, let me suggest one…

CloneDVD is a straightforward app that anyone can use to copy their favorite DVDs as a backup, or for use in different locations. Because it has an easy-to-use interface, everyone from novices to more advanced users will feel comfortable with it. There are only a few basic settings to choose from as CloneDVD will automatically deal with any restrictions on the DVD you are copying.

It is fairly intuitive, but for those users who do need some help, there is a step-by-step guide available. When the process is finished, CloneDVD automatically shuts down so you know the copying is complete.

CloneDVD appears deceptively simple, but does in fact offer a lot of customization options for more advanced users. You can remove any extras or features, add watermarks, remove areas or frames from the original movie, and choose to copy all of the movie, or only certain sections.

CloneDVD produces a good quality copy you can play on a number of devices, using the most popular formats. It is worth downloading the free trial to fully appreciate the range of editing tools that are included with CloneDVD.

Download CloneDVD


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RIM Keeps Manufacturing Out of China

This one act has probably done more to show the world that RIM is in it to win it than any other so far this year – RIM is staying out of China.

The Huffington Post had a really great article in it yesterday. The article described how Thorsten Heins, RIM’s CEO, has made an operational decision to stay out of China. Specifically speaking, despite the cheap labor and lax environmental laws, RIM’s manufacturing operations won’t be moving there… ever.

The immediate question is, “why is this important?” That’s really quite simple. Historically, it’s been very easy for Chinese companies to “acquire” intellectual property and produce like and/or competing products and services from companies operating within their borders. In many cases, government officials order, intimidate, cajole, or otherwise “make” Chinese workers cough up the information.

Shortly after that happens it’s not been unheard of for foreign companies to lose or be underbid for work because a Chinese organization introduces a like product and wins a contract or business with that illicitly gained information. This is a well-known occurrence for organizations with operations in China.

RIM is in butt-saving mode. Its cutting staff, cutting costs etc., trying to insure that it has enough staying power to release BB10 and the new devices that run it. The one thing it won’t be doing to save money on manufacturing costs.. ? Moving its manufacturing operations to China.

This is huge step in the right direction for RIM; and it may be the first thing they’ve done right this year. This decision protects RIM’s reputation, RIM’s current product line and most importantly, RIM’s customers from rogue Chinese government sponsored hackers running amok through RIM’s enterprise, or YOUR enterprise because the Chinese were able to hack through BIS/BES. It protects RIM’s most valuable asset – its security features. It also protects RIM’s value

Despite the fact that RIM could have saved a great deal of money on operating expenses, Heins has likely saved the company by keeping the company out of China.

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Too slow? Gain some speed!

Over time, almost all computers begin to start slowing down. And is not that we’re doing something wrong, is just that we don’t do anything to prevent that… And when things become frustrating, you call a friend to reinstall your OS and to make it as new again. It is known that reinstalling the OS takes time, and the software that you use the most, also need to be reinstalled and reconfigured, and that is also stealing your precious time.

Well, I used to do that as well, with the exception that I didn’t call a friend, and I did it quite often, at least once at 3 months. But now, I have windows running fast and stable for more than 3 years.

Why? Because I took care of it! Easy and fast! And that’s what SuperEasy2 does!

SuperEasy2 finds hidden errors, optimize your start-up, clean the windows registry, delete hidden temporary files in order to help you to regain your free disk space, remove internet traces, manage services, optimize system database, defragment your hard drives, etc, and all of these, very fast and very easy!

My windows keeps telling me I am running out of space on disk C:\, and I deleted all the temporary files, I cleaned up all my desktop, all my files, and I still was short in disk space! And I tried to Regain disk space with SuperEasy2, and bang! More than 4GB of free disk space appeared all of a sudden! And now, anytime I have a low disk problem, I just let superEasy2 to gain some disk space for me!

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Microsoft Office 2013 Home Premium Presentation

The best sold product by Microsoft is ready to be delivered to the market with a new face and a new modern feature: the Cloud integration. Steve Ballmer was eager to unveil this product as fast as possible, preparing the media and the new customers to accept it as part of the Windows 8 “revolution”.

Microsoft Office 2013 Home Premium, which is part of the Microsoft Office 365 family, is already available for free as a preview version, which will expire on its official release. All you have to do to get it and make it run, is to download the installer from here, then sign-in into Office 365 Home Premium account with your Windows Live credentials. A new online UI will appear from where you can open your applications, documents, and custom settings on any PC (PC running Windows 7 or 8 and Internet connection required).

The package offers new full versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Access. In case you are already using Windows 8 Release Preview, these apps are fully integrated into the interface with lots of extra add-ons on Windows Store. You will have 25 GB of free online space on SkyDrive to store your documents for easy access and sharing. When the Preview version will expire, the free access will be gone.

The full version Office 365 Home Premium will come also with full Skype integration, additional 20 GB of SkyDrive online storage and Mac compatibility. All these will be available on up to five PC’s or mobile devices. It is not clear what prices will Microsoft ask for their four cloud subscription plans: Home, Small Business, ProPlus and Enterprise, but all these will be available only if you pay a monthly fee.

Stay tuned, for our full preview of Microsoft Office 2013.

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Transfer music and video files from iPod and iPhone with Ease

Have you had a problem with your computer or hard drive, lost all your music, then connected your iPod to your computer, hoping you could do a two-way transfer? Unfortunately, when you do that iTunes won’t let you copy your previous music library to your computer. That’s where Sharepod comes in. With Sharepod, you can copy music you have stored on your iPod to your computer with a simple drag-and-drop interface. You can arrange by track, by album or by playlist.

Sharepod is a simple, single-executable application that doesn’t need installing. So whether you are at home or a friend’s, it is easy to download, open and have your iPod connected within seconds. As well as iPod to PC sharing, Sharepod allows you to copy music from your PC to iPod without the need for iTunes. This is a great if you have multiple computers and want to use your iPod with all of them, instead of connecting your mp3 player to just one device.

Sharepod is a great freeware application for transferring music from your iPod to other computers and back again. If you have multiple computers in your home network or want to share music with friends, there is no simpler way to do it than with Sharepod. Sharepod fixes the universal problem iPod users have when trying to connect their device to secondary computers.

Download Sharepod

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