Keep your PC running in peak condition with SiSoftware Sandra 2013

sisoftwareLet’s face it.  The economy really stinks.  With economic conditions so lousy, it’s not surprising that PC sales are down. The best way to save money from a computing standpoint is to keep your computer running well. One of the best ways is to have a good diagnostic program like SiSoftware Sandra 2013. It’s a diagnostic utility for Windows.

SiSoftware Sandra is a 32- and 64-bit Windows system analyzer.   It includes benchmarking, testing and listing modules. It tries to go beyond other utilities to show you more of what is really going on under the hood so you draw comparisons at both a high and low-level in a single product. You can get information about the CPU, GPGPU, chipset, video adapter (GPU), ports, printers, sound card, memory, network.  You can even get information on Windows, .NET and Java internal components installed on your machine.

SIS-01

SiSoftware Sandra has a great deal to offer.  The free version is good, but the paid versions offer more. The biggest problem it has is that it’s very technical, and most computer users, aren’t.  However, if you have a little bit of computer aptitude, you can learn a lot about your PC; and you can learn what to check when things start misbehaving.

If you can, create reports when things are running well.  When you begin having problems with your PC, you can use the “known good” information and compare it to the current, not so good information. It may help you figure out what’s broken.  However, you’re going to likely need to get smart about your PC’s components before you can take full advantage of the app.

download SiSoftware Sandra 2013

Related Posts:

UPDATED – Apple Developer Website Hacked – #3

apppleApple Developers got a delightful update in the past couple of days. More of the site is back…

The Apple Developer Network status page has seen quite a bit of updates lately. In fact, Apple developers got a nice surprise over the weekend – much of the site’s resources are back, including software downloads.

That didn’t take too long, and I’m really pleased with the level of progress that Apple has made since putting the status page up.

While the Member Center is still offline, each of their three dev centers – Mac, iOS, and Safari – are back up and running. The latest released build of each related developer preview for OS X Mavericks, iOS 7 and Safari are available from each page. However, please note Mavericks, Developer Preview 4, released on 2013-07-22, still isn’t showing as available via the OS X Development Center. Currently, the most current release is Developer Preview 3, released on 2013-07-08. If you want Developer Preview 4, you’ll still need to download it via the Mac App Store after installing Developer Preview 3.

AAPL Status

A lot has happened with this story, and I’m going to move on to other items at this point, unless and until we hear about what actions, if any, will be taken against the security engineer that caused the whole bally-hoo in the first place. At that point, we’ll want to revisit the story, as I’m certain there will be consequences, and quite likely, serious consequences.

Related Posts:

Watch your favorite movies on your PC with Leawo Blu-Ray Player

leawoIf there’s one thing that I like to do on my computer, it’s watching movies. I do it quite a bit, for that matter. Having the right app on your PC for watching movies is important. Finding the right app to use on your Windows 8 tablet or PC is also not easy. I think I’ve found a good one, though. I gave Leawo Blu-Ray Player a try and I think you should too. It’s a multimedia player for Windows and it’s kinda cool.

Leawo Blu-ray Player can play Blu-ray/DVD disc, audio discs and files, videos and up to 1080P HD videos smoothly on just about any Windows PC, including Windows 8 tablets and PC’s. The software can also play discs from varying regions, so it doesn’t really matter what country the disc is purchased in. Leawo Blu-Ray Player can handle it.

LBRP-03

The app offers a number if different playback modes, including windowed and full screen.  It’s also easy to adjust subtitles and audio. One of the things that I like about it most is that the software is free for playing most any media you have. However, if you want to play Blu-ray media, you’ll have to purchase a license after the end of your 30-day trial.

Leawo Blu-Ray Player is a decent application.  The one problem I had with it, however, was the inability to get it to eject a disc prior to playback. The DVD’s menu appeared, and the app didn’t give me a way to eject the disc. It should have been fairly easy to figure that out. Perhaps I missed it, but either way, it represented a small concern.

The app is very Windows 8 oriented, sporting tiles of its own, within its program window. It fits in very well with Windows 8, as you’ll see in the app’s screen shots. For a free DVD player, this is a decent choice. As a Blu-ray player, it’s a bit on the pricey side, but as of this writing, Leawo is having a 50% off sale, so please check the website for an awesome deal on a great app.

download Leawo Blu-Ray Player

Related Posts:

UPDATED – Apple Developer Website Hacked – #2

The saga continues and the site is still down

apppleIf you remember, I reported that the Apple Developer Website was hacked on 2013-07-22. Since then, the site has been down. I recently reported recently one update. Apple has recently published a second:

Apple Developer System Status Update
We apologize for the significant inconvenience caused by our developer website downtime. We’ve been working around the clock to overhaul our developer systems, update our server software, and rebuild our entire database. While we complete the work to bring our systems back online, we want to share the latest with you.

We plan to roll out our updated systems, starting with Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles, Apple Developer Forums, Bug Reporter, pre-release developer libraries, and videos first. Next, we will restore software downloads, so that the latest betas of iOS 7, Xcode 5, and OS X Mavericks will once again be available to program members. We’ll then bring the remaining systems online. To keep you up to date on our progress, we’ve created a status page to display the availability of our systems.

If your program membership is set to expire during this period, it will be extended and your app will remain on the App Store. If you have any other concerns about your account, please contact us.

Thank you for your continued patience.

apple_hack-610

The status page is pretty cool. It shows you via green or grey light, what systems are up. Currently, iTunes Connect and Bug Reporter are operational. Everything else is still dark; and it seems that Software Downloads will be one of the last things that are brought back online.

As both OS X and iOS are both in Beta right now, this is extremely and urgently problematic. On Monday 2013-07-22, Apple released OS X Mavericks Developer Preview 4. Yesterday, it released OS X 10.8.5 Build 12F26.

Currently, the only way to get the new builds is if you already have the previous build installed. In that case, the software may be updated via the Mac App Store. There’s currently no other way to get the software until Apple brings everything else back online.

iOS 7 hasn’t seen an update to Beta 3since is last release on 2013-07-08. Had Apple followed the currently trending schedule, we also would have seen it released on 2013-07-22. My gut tells me we won’t see Beta 4 until after the Developer Site is fully restored.

Related Posts:

Apple Developer Website Hacked Update #1

1202275-apple-hack-hacking-pirateUPDATE:  A couple days ago, the Apple Developer Website went down for extended maintenance.  Many suspected that the site might have been hacked, but with so much going on with both Mavericks and iOS 7 development, it really could have been anything.

As I pointed out on Monday 2013-07-22, the site was actually hacked, and personal information was compromised.  While Apple has stated that “sensitive personal information was encrypted and [could not] be accessed,” their network was still breached and information was compromised and/or stolen.

Interestingly enough, the person responsible for all of this has come out and identified himself. Ibrahim Balic admitted on TechCrunch that he is the “security researcher” who conducted the ad-hoc penetration testing on Apple’s Developer website.  He said he reported13 bugs, took 73 user details – all of them Apple employees – and gave them to the organization as an example of the exploit(s) he discovered.

Balic claims to have obtained more than 100,000 encrypted user details from the site.  In a posting on YouTube, Balic attempts to explain himself, promising to delete the data that he took, while informing Apple of the pen-tests prior to the actual data “theft.”

Please note that when I tried to view the video, it was marked “private” and it would not play.

Where this goes from here, I don’t know. Penetration testing is something that most every security firm does, and one that most large organizations want completed. However, they usually retain security firms to do this, and the testing is planned, sanctioned and paid for. Balic’s “testing” appears to have been none of these things; and he may find himself in a great deal of trouble.

This story is developing, and we’ll have further information as its made available. Please watch the Soft32 blog for additional updates.

Related Posts:

Microsoft $900M Write Down – Why is Everyone Surprised?

I mean… I’m not. This is what happens when you don’t sell the stuff you make.

wpI’ve been watching and reporting on the Microsoft space since 1997. I knew that there was a change coming to their business long before it was publically announced a few days ago. News of the nearly $1.0B write-off come on the heels of a huge Microsoft reorg. Given the wide press that Windows 8 adoption numbers have had, and the abysmal Surface RT sales and licensing figures that everyone suspects are accurate, All that’s happened to Microsoft in June and July of 2013 canNOT be a surprise to anyone.

However, one of the things that everyone IS asking is, how did this happen? My good friend, MaryJo Foley put it the best, and you can read about it in her article, linked above. It’s a good question, too; one that should have been asked in a different form long before the decision to take the write-off was made. Microsoft should have been asking itself and its pundits, “what should we do to keep this from happening?” (or some similarly formulated question…)

The write-off, or “inventory adjustment,” as Microsoft is calling it is a $900M charge for Surface RT, its parts and accessories, as announced on 18-Jul-2013. Unfortunately, the entire world is focusing on this specific development, with many people providing I told you so, arm-chair quarter back/Monday morning analysis of Microsoft’s reported financials.

While I’m not going to get into much of that, I can’t say I’m surprised. What specifics had been circulated – Microsoft hasn’t provided specific sales numbers to my knowledge – shouldn’t make this a big surprise to anyone. Microsoft has been trying to misdirect everyone to other issues, accomplishments and subjects for months.

MJF wants to know how it happened. I want to know why no one took the current actions – reducing prices of licenses, hardware and accessories – until now. I also want to know why there isn’t a (more) aggressive marketing push, and why Microsoft isn’t doing more to attract more 3rd party developers.

The problems here are 3 fold. All of these need to be addressed in order to turn the ship around.

  • Hardware pricing
  • Windows Store Issues
  • Windows 8/RT UI Duality

Microsoft-Surface-ad-multiple-devices-hands-001

Hardware Pricing

Simply put, Microsoft needs to sell these at a serious loss if it wants to get Windows RT and Surface RT tablets into the hands of the public. Pricing these at or near iPad/iPad mini pricing isn’t going to cut it. The right price is $199 to $249 regardless of features, manufacturer, or storage size.

Microsoft needs to price Surface RT at a level where it’s stupid NOT to buy one, if only just to have it, in case there’s a major breakthrough and we bump into a, “Hey, Mikey..! He likes it!” moment.

Windows Store Issues

A friend of mine is returning a Lumia 928 Windows Phone due to lack of app selection and maturity within the Windows [App] Store. Simply put, what little apps there are, suck; or don’t compare to the level of app quality in the iOS or Google Play App Stores.

The same can be said for Windows RT; but its problems are a bit more profound. There aren’t a lot of apps in the store, and what apps are there, aren’t great. Moreover, Windows RT devices can’t run Win32 apps. Despite the fact that it’s a “Windows machine,” Surface RT can’t run any of the ba-jillions of Windows apps out there.

The only way Microsoft is going to be able to address this, is to do its best to attract quality developers to its RT dev programs, and get them to start pumping out apps. However, tablet or mobile device apps tend to be less robust than, and priced well below, their desktop counterparts. Unfortunately for Microsoft, this is a long row to hoe, and is going to be a complex problem to solve. Unfortunately, the hardware is only as good as the software it runs.

Windows 8/RT UI Duality

Microsoft tried to build a hybrid OS to help the masses bridge themselves between the growing tablet trend and the public’s love for traditional computing.

Unfortunately, the results generally suck.

Windows 8.1 goes a ways to address this issue, but doesn’t resolve it. Bridging the gap between the computing trends in a single device isn’t working. Most people are used to the fact that their iPad or Android tablet doesn’t run the same kind of software as their Mac or Windows PC; and they’ve accepted it and they’re willing to live with it.

Microsoft needs to separate the UI’s and allow everyone to get back to work. Windows RT wouldn’t suck as an OS if MS would simply combine Windows Phone and Windows RT into a single effort, since they’re so close already. Leave MetroUI based apps to those devices and let the desktop folks get back to work with something that they’re more accustomed to…for now.

If we need to update the UI, let’s do it in an evolutionary, not revolutionary manner. The problem is that XP and its Start Menu have been around too long, and that paradigm of UI is available in Windows 7 as well. Windows XP is still used in the enterprise, and is slowly being phased out, not for Windows 8, but Windows 7. It could be 5 years or more before that UI paradigm is gone. One of the biggest reasons why it was so successful is because consumers were able to use the same UI at home and at work.

Adopting RT in the enterprise currently isn’t possible, as the device integration isn’t there. Home, as well as corporate users, are rejecting Microsoft’s new Start Screen, so, so much for MetroUI.

This is just me; but Microsoft MUST address all three of these issues as part of its reorg or its going to find itself taking additional write-off’s in the immediate future. It can’t afford to do it, and I really don’t’ want to think about a world without a Microsoft… that’s scary, and something that I really don’t want to deal with.

Related Posts:

What if – Microsoft Doesn’t Make it..?

I had an interesting conversation with someone at the office today who asked about the MS reorg and some Surface pricing changes – What happens if Microsoft shuts down?

msreorg

Its an interesting question, and one that made me, as well as some people around me and my friend, shudder – What if Microsoft doesn’t fare well after the reorg and everything continues to tank for them?  More than 80% of the world’s enterprises run on Microsoft clients and servers. What would happen if they just evaporated?

Now, I don’t want anyone to panic.  This isn’t very likely to happen, so don’t go getting your undies in a bunch.  However, when you start looking at how many businesses run MS software – servers, clients, middleware – it’s a legitimate question.  Where does the world turn if Microsoft and Windows dies?

Yeah… I’m at a bit of a loss too. I have no idea what viable alternatives are REALLY out there.  Now, assuming Microsoft is TOTALLY out of the picture (again, possible, but not probable…for now), some companies would likely adopt the same strategy with Windows 7 as they did with Windows XP and ride it as long as they could, hiring as many software engineers and developers to patch their enterprise implementation of the OS for all their clients as necessary. They’d have to do their own security patches, as again, MS wouldn’t necessarily be around 5-7 years from the finalization of their demise.

Thankfully, the problems at the OS level aren’t there when it comes to a productivity suite (meaning, Office).  There are many alternatives available, despite the fact that Office is the defacto choice at this time.  Things like LibreOffice, OpenOffice.org, and SoftMaker Office offer free or affordable, robust alternatives to Microsoft’s classic office suite, without imposing online, subscription restrictions or requirements on users. Regardless of what happens in Redmond, I don’t see this area being as big of an issue as the lack of Windows would create.  All three of the products I cited are MS Office compatible, AND have versions available for Windows, OS X, as well as numerous Linux distributions.

So what does this get us at the end of the day? Not much… The level of speculation here is crazy-huge.  But it’s one that a lot of people have had wander through their minds, especially at the large office I work in.  Many of the PC’s that are in use here today are still using Windows XP.  Windows 7 should be fully rolled out over the next 6-12 months – 4 years after its release in October of 2009.

If Windows were to evaporate, there’s no clear heir-apparent for an enterprise client OS out there.  OS X and Linux both have an enterprise presence, but its miniscule in comparison to what Microsoft has.  If I were Tim Cook or Jim Whitehurst (the CEO of RedHat) I’d be watching Microsoft like a hawk and step up the enterprise marketing at each and every opportunity.

My friend Preston Gralla says that MS has to kill the Windows brand to succeed. Greg Keizer, also from ComputerWorld, doesn’t give Ballmer a good chance of making the recent Microsoft reorg a success.  Part of that is Ballmer.  Part of that is clearly based on industry data of past reorg and culture change success rates.

The odds just aren’t in Ballmer’s favor; and any way you cut it, there’s definitely blood in the water. The only questions left to be answered are when and how badly will the shark attacks be…

Related Posts:

Apple Developer Website Hacked

For those of you with developer accounts, the site was hacked…

1202275-apple-hack-hacking-pirateI’ve had an Apple Developer account for about 3 years. Like all development account members, I use it to get access to Apple’s prerelease software to help with my development and testing efforts. I’m a hobby developer. I don’t develop things for sale.

The big problem with all of that is that I have a single email address or single Apple ID. Apple ties your Developer account to your Apple ID, and you log into the site with it. I knew the site was down and had been down for a few days, more than expected. Today, I was greeted with the following note from Apple

 

Apple Developer Website Update:

Last Thursday, an intruder attempted to secure personal information of our registered developers from our developer website. Sensitive personal information was encrypted and cannot be accessed, however, we have not been able to rule out the possibility that some developers’ names, mailing addresses, and/or email addresses may have been accessed. In the spirit of transparency, we want to inform you of the issue. We took the site down immediately on Thursday and have been working around the clock since then.

In order to prevent a security threat like this from happening again, we’re completely overhauling our developer systems, updating our server software, and rebuilding our entire database. We apologize for the significant inconvenience that our downtime has caused you and we expect to have the developer website up again soon.

Awesome.

The site got hacked, and they can’t guarantee that my Apple ID and password, as well as my other personal information, weren’t compromised. That’s just terrific.

Well, this certainly isn’t the end of this one. You can bet that there will be additional fallout on the Apple side of the world for this. While I think it’s a good idea to completely change the system, part of the changes would be to NOT tie everything to my Apple ID, but to another user ID and password.

There will be more from me on this as the story develops. Please watch the Soft32 blog for additional updates.

Related Posts:

Stay in touch with Soft32

Soft32.com is a software free download website that provides:

121.218 programs and games that were downloaded 237.780.356 times by 402.775 members in our Soft32.com Community!

Get the latest software updates directly to your inbox

Find us on Facebook