No pop-ups and interruptions with BitDefender Internet Security 2012

Silence is golden, the old cliche says, and that’s certainly the selling point of BitDefender. It’s designed to offer a wide variety of security measures that operate without the user needing to pay much attention to what’s going on.

The real beauty of the application is that you don’t need to make decisions. It scans potential threats in the background and deals with them as necessary. It’s not completely “silent” as it does use pop-up notifications to tell you when it’s encountered a threat and what action it took.


Such a set-up would be relatively useless if the system either let genuine threats through, or created a lot of false positives. Fortunately its reference database is generally good quality: indeed, it’s been licensed to several other security software applications.

There are some additional features such as online back-up, anti-spam tools and parental controls. These are something of a mixed bag and should be seen more as a bonus than a primary reason to buy.

There will be people for whom BitDefender isn’t a best buy, but that’s more about the person than the software. If you want to have extensive control over what your security software checks and how, this may not be ideal. If you don’t mind putting in a little extra work to make the best use of free alternatives, the purchase price may be offputting. If, however, you are happy to pay to get peace of mind, this is one of the more reliable options out there.

Read full review | Download BitDefender Internet Security 2012

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What’s hot in the second edition of the iPad 2

The new iPad 2 has arrived and “redefines the category Apple created less than two years ago, delivering the most amazing experience people have ever had with technology,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. Let’s take a look at the most important improvements.

First of all, there is a gorgeous high-resolution (2048 x 1536) Retina Display which  makes web pages, text, images and video look incredibly sharp and realistic and with 44 percent increased saturation, the colors are unbelievably richer, deeper and more vivid.

Second, the new iPad has a new A5 chip (A5x) with quad-core graphics which makes the iPad faster and more responsive to enjoy the benefits of the stunning new full 1080p HD-resolution.

The camera has been also improved (5MP) and it can now record full HD video and take better picture in low-light conditions. There is also a new video image stabilization feature which  removes the bumps and shakes typically seen when filming with a hand-held device.

iPad Wi-Fi + 4G has built-in next generation 4G LTE  for fast networks worldwide including HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA, and now both CDMA and GSM iPad users have the ability to easily roam internationally.

About battery life,  Apple announced that the new iPad will have 10 hours of battery life, same for the iPad2, and 9 hours when being used on AT&T’s or Verizon’s 4G LTE networks.

Pricing

The new iPad Wi-Fi models will be available in black or white on Friday, March 16 for a suggested retail price of $499 (US) for the 16 GB model, $599 (US) for the 32 GB model and $699 (US) for the 64 GB model.

iPad Wi-Fi + 4G for either AT&T or Verizon will be available for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16 GB model, $729 (US) for the 32 GB model and $829 (US) for the 64 GB model.

One more thing, the first edition iPad 2 is now offered at a more affordable price of $399 (US) for the 16 GB Wi-Fi model and just $529 (US) for the 16 GB Wi-Fi + 3G model.

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Mass Effect 3 Preview

Mass Effect 3 is a sci-fi action-RPG released on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360; marking the final entry in one of the most critically-acclaimed and best-selling video game series of the last decade. The title has already been generating a lot of positive buzz in the gaming community, but the release of a demo has given players their first hands-on experience outside the leaked beta last year.

The demo itself consists of two levels that give you a good sense of both the new and improved gameplay, as well as the sheer scope and emotional drama of the story. The first level begins on Earth in the middle of a reaper attack and ends with Shepard being handed his mission: enlist other species in the fight against the Reaper threat. Mass Effect has always excelled in its level design, and the visuals are predictably stunning as Shepard fights his way across a living and breathing futuristic city being ripped to shreds by Reaper attacks. There’s not been a drastic step-up from Mass Effect 2, but the graphics definitely look much more polished and slick.

In the second level Mass Effect 3 really gets a chance to show off its third-person shooter chops. Rife with gunplay, this “defend a Krogan” mission gives you a good sense of what changes Bioware have made to Mass Effect 3’s combat. The controls feel a bit tighter and more intuitive than in Mass Effect 2, and the addition of a basic dodge roll feels so essential that you won’t believe that previous entries missed something so simple. One small gripe would be that the cover system seems a little “sticky”, meaning you’ll find yourself ducking down for shelter when you’re really trying to run past something. Still, it’s a small issue. And with new editions like the omni-blade melee attacks giving combat a rougher, more visceral edge, the overall impression is positive.

If you really want to get a sense of Mass Effect 3’s combat though, you’ll need to head over to the multiplayer mode. This is a new addition to the series and Bioware have stated that achievements in multiplayer will positively affect your single player campaign. When you start multiplayer you’ll choose a class and a race, and then partner with up to 3 other players to fight off increasingly difficult waves of enemies. Each kill earns you XP to upgrade your character, while completing objectives earns you credits to buy items and new character classes.

It’s in multiplayer that the improved AI of Mass Effect 3 becomes noticeable; enemies might arrive in waves, but they’ll dodge, flank and use cover intelligently to avoid fire. Really excelling at multiplayer requires a surprising depth of teamwork and tactics, and with loads of new classes and items to unlock there’s a decent amount of lifespan once your single-player campaign is finished. Overall, both multiplayer and the single player campaign look to have impressive replay value.

Reassuringly, early reviews from the American release are showing Mass Effect 3 to be the most critically acclaimed entry in the trilogy, as well as a leading contender for game of the year 2012. And with Bioware hinting at future releases set in the Mass Effect universe, hopefully this isn’t the last we’ll be seeing of the Alliance, even if Commander Shepard takes some well-earned retirement from the leading role. But for now, make sure you’ve got your Mass Effect 3 demo downloaded and your copy of the main game on pre-order. Mass Effect 3 is panning out to be this console generation’s essential action-RPG.

download Mass Effect 3 Demo

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Keep the stuff that you love right on your desktop

Widgets… an easy and fun way to manage your daily activities. They can be used for a variety of functions, including alarm clocks, weight loss guides, news aggregators and many more. Of course, you may need a system that can help you manage all of your widgets, which is where Yahoo! Widget Engine comes in.

One of the major advantages of the service is its impressive graphics, which not only look nice but also provide a clear environment for displaying your widgets. Users can also enjoy a number of different skins, allowing you to completely customize your widget engine to suit your own personality.

The various widgets are all run from one program, the Yahoo! Widget Engine, although when they are opened they each appear as individual windows on your computer. Although this makes it easier to focus on one particular widget at a time, it does mean that widgets can soon begin to clog up your computer and take up space. It’s really just a matter of personal preference – if you don’t mind having a number of widgets open at once, then it is a good system to use.

Read full review | Download Yahoo! Widget Engine

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Translate text between more than 50 languages with ease

Who likes to move between windows and copy and paste text back and forth when it comes to translate a text? That’s what happens when you’re using online translators. Instead, I suggest you to try Google Translate Client, which is free and enables the fast translation of text in the most applications, such as Web Browsers, Office apps, Messengers and etc. using the Google Translate service.

Google Translate Client is a free download for Windows, which integrates Google’s language translation features with other programs (MS Word, Outlook, Internet Explorer and other browsers, etc.). The idea is to effortlessly bring the functions of online translators into the familiar functionality of popular applications.

While online translators, including Google’s own, are useful tools, they can be time consuming, as you move between windows and copy and paste text back and forth. Google Translate Client is far simpler – just highlight the desired text in a web page, word document or email and a pop-up ‘G’ icon will offer a translation of the text. Simply select this to see your required translation appear below the original.

The client can be enabled or disabled for a range of applications, meaning that you can customise your use of the tool. If for any reason you don’t want it to run with Firefox, for example, you can turn it off, while still allowing it to run in your other chosen software programs.

Google Translate Client is available in Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 and takes up minimal system memory to run alongside your favourite applications. It also supports free XDXF dictionaries, as used by Atlantida, WiseDict and mDictionary, among others. Wikipedia articles are also supported.

Read full review | Download Google Translate Client

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Thunderbolt vs. the Standard 30 Pin iOS Connector

There’s a lot of speculation that a change in the iPad 3 and iPhone 5 connector may change.

The 30 pin iDevice connector has been around for a long time. Back in the day, when the iPod was originally released, Apple introduced it with the original 30 pin connector. Apple has on occasion since the original introduction of the connector and cable made tweaks to it. The connector has spawned the introduction and revision of many different accessories. Its created an industry all of its own.

With the introduction of Thunderbolt, a PCI Express related connector, there’s been a great deal of speculation that Apple would move all iDevices to it, beginning with iPad 3 and iPhone 5. There are some pluses and minuses to this, speculative change. Let’s take a quick look and see what they may be.

10 Plus Years at 30 Pins Can’t be Wrong
Apple’s love affair with their 30 pin connector goes back to the original release of their iPod music player. Back in the day, Apple’s 30 pin connector was Firewire only. It wasn’t until the 3rd generation iPod that USB support was built in, and then it was sync only support. It wasn’t until the 4th generation iPod that the 30 pin USB connector did sync and charge. The long and short of it, however is that Apple has had a love affair with their 30 pin connector since October of 2001.

The last 10 years has seen a great many iPod, iPod Touch and iPhone accessories evolve around the iDevice’s 30 pin connector. When Apple introduced the iPhone 3G, they changed the connector. When they introduced the iPhone 3GS, they changed the connector. When they introduced the iPhone 4 and then the iPhone 4S, they changed the connector. With each connector change, accessories were obsoleted – meaning, they would no longer function as designed and intended. Users were forced to look for updated versions or replacements entirely.

This was both good and bad, as aside from the economic stimulation which was good for retailers and accessory manufacturers, some users resented the fact that they had to spend money to repurchase an accessory that wasn’t broken. Users are now someone resigned to this continual need to “fix what wasn’t broken,” and make budgetary allowances for some key accessory repurchases at the time of device purchase. In some cases, accessories were unaffected by the pin changes. In those cases where functionality was affected, some users are willing to forego full functionality (usually charging), provided that some functionality remained. In the case of speakers or boom boxes, you have to watch to insure that you don’t completely run out of power, but in some cases, that may be acceptable considering the price of the accessory in question.

At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, given the accessory investment you made and the usability status of those accessories as they relate to the “new” device, do I have to modify how I use the device and if not; can I afford to repurchase said accessories if they don’t work the way I am used or need them to work?

Less of a Need for a Physical Connection
With the introduction of iOS 5, the need for a physical connector has really changed. It’s now possible to sync your iDevice to a given PC via Wi-Fi. With Airplay, the need for a physical speaker or TV connection is greatly reduced. Without needing to be physically connected to a speaker in order to hear playing music or a TV in order to view video and hear its audio, the need for a wired connection to that centralized or playing endpoint, is greatly reduced if not eliminated. In this scenario, the only reason to have a wired connection to anything is for charging purposes.

From a technology advancement perspective, 4G and LTE radios are a bit bigger in size. Apple’s 30 pin connector takes up a great deal of space – space that might be better utilized by a larger battery. Given that battery life is a huge issue for devices with advanced cellular radios, it really begs the question…What is Apple going to do with its connector?

Bus Compatibility
Obviously, the first thought is Thunderbolt. It’s much smaller, provides a huge speed boost, and would allow for either a larger radio or larger battery, or both. The problem here is that Thunderbolt uses PCI Express, and Apple’s iDevices do not. This would require a total internal redesign of the device’s communications bus, and may present other challenges that would negate the benefit the connector’s smaller form factor. While some of this may be required related to the implementation of LTE, that reengineering may not be as drastic or demanding as the implementation of both LTE and Thunderbolt in Apple’s handheld devices.

The other obvious alternative is microUSB. However, while this may solve the space problem, microUSB doesn’t offer much of an improvement other than size. From a performance perspective, Apple would likely see the same level of performance from a microUSB connector as it would from its current 30 pin connector. If space is the only consideration, this may be the move to look for. If Apple is looking for space and performance bumps, this likely wouldn’t be the solution that Apple would pursue.

Will Apple make a change here? Trying to figure out what they will do seems to be one of the most pursued netizen pastimes of the past few months. If they were to want or need to make a change, now, with pending releases of both iPad 3 and iPhone 5 on the horizon, would obviously be the best time to chase it down.

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Keep your private files away from inquiring minds with MyWinLocker

MyWinLocker utilizes advanced encryption technologies to easily password protect your files. Make sure no one knows the location of your private files by storing them in the invisible Yo-Safe. Furthermore, the self-decrypting feature enables you to freely share files with your friends!

With over 10 million installations worldwide, MyWinLocker lets you take control of your privacy. By utilizing advanced encryption technologies you can protect your files anywhere. The MyWinLocker sidebar gadget provides a convenient way to quickly encrypt or decrypt files, while the trouble-free self-extracting feature enables you to freely communicate and share files with your friends. MyWinLocker is the ideal tool to secure your data.

Powerful File Protection

AES File Encryption – Encrypt your files and files in a folder with the click of a button. The AES technology is the same encryption technology used by the FBI, NASA, and the Department of Defense to protect their data.

Yo-Safe – Store and hide your important files in a secure virtual disk that no one will find. Just open the Yo-Safe with your Master Password and then access your files as you normally would. Files are automatically encrypted as they are added or modified in the Yo-Safe.

Batch Mode File Encryption – You can encrypt or decrypt batch files with one simple click.

Read full review | Download MyWinLocker

 

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Make perfect 1:1 copies of all your DVD’s with DVD-Cloner

Making backup copies of physical media has always been a problem for many people. Many states have fair use copyright provisions for making backup copies of movies and software that are bought in the US.  Countries in the EU may have similar provisions to local and federal laws.  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, preventing you from enjoying the content.  This is one of the major reasons why I really like apps like DVD-Cloner. It’s an optical disk backup utility for Windows.

DVD-Cloner is a DVD ripping and backup tool that comes with it powerful functions and its fire-new one-click interface to make DVD copy easy. With new movies and related never-ending changes and improvements springing up, DVD-Cloner, as the symbolic figure in the DVD copy software industry, is designed for movie fans. It can decrypt all DVD protections for you allowing you to bring the movie home. With optimized DVD reading speed, it can finish copying a DVD just after you finish a cup of coffee.

DVD-Cloner can  decrypt all DVD protection schemes including Macrovision, AACS, CPPM, RC, RCE, APS, UOPs and RipGuard, via a block-by-block copy, whether the content is music, video or data.  It can do exact, like kind DVD-5 and DVD-9 copies. It can also copy DVD’s onto most branded DVR’s. for you to bring the cinema home.

Read full review | Download DVD-Cloner

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