Is The End Near for Microsoft?

microsoft-in-kenyaWell, I don’t know, but they sure act like it. Just like a beast, who is starting to realize that the opponent is getting stronger, and now, wounded, tries to get hold on every possible thing to remain in the big digital war.

This is my personal point of view, and it’s becoming more and more obvious. Microsoft started an aggressive campaign against Google’s email client, Gmail, called Scroogled. Well, now, Microsoft is doing it again! Another campaign against Goole’s email scanning process, called Keep Your Email Private (and use Outlook.com instead of Gmail). So, what’s new? I don’t think that is anything new, and they just wanna remind the users that outlook.com is safer and respects your privacy, unlike Google’s Gmail. We all know that emails content are scanned with a view of delivering targeted ads, depending on your conversation topic.

People know about this, and whoever is not happy with it, can move along from Gmail. What is now suspicious, is that Microsoft is using this Gmail feature, and exploits it, in order to get more people to use Outlook.com

Microsoft statement: “Unlike Gmail, Outlook.com keeps your privacy private. You won’t see ads based on keywords from your personal email. Your email is nobody else’s business. But Google makes it their business. Even if you’re not a Gmail user, Google still goes through your personal email sent to Gmail and uses the content to sell ads. ”

They explain how the scanning works, but something is missing. Of course the lack of clear points in this information, is not making it clear if the scanning is anonymously made and if any of our private data is given/revealed to any other third party.

It’s clear that Microsoft wants more users and they use this “feature” from Gmail to boost their products. I don’t find it a fair fight, to throw mud on your opponent’s products in order to show to the people how shiny is yours. And about our privacy, Google statement is clear. It’s your choice if you use their products or not. The Big Brother doesn’t force anyone to join him, but he sure offers some of the best products on the market.

What can we do? Well, it’s clear. As long as we give up our privacy, we let our freedom vanish.
Using the email account is almost vital for many people. But, really, I don’t know who likes the idea to have all the emails scanned… A workaround can be made. If you really want more privacy, but you don’t wanna let your Gmail account go, you can set up another email client, or you can even choose to use Outlook.com and connect your Gmail account there, and you’ll get all your emails forwarded to your new Outlook account. But this is the right way to avoid having your emails scanned? If I set up the automatic forward, would make my emails invulnerable to scanning? Still, one big question remains… what is the safest way to use the email and have our privacy protected?

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Get and read email with Opera Mail

opera-mail-iconGet and read email with this full-featured mail client for Windows.

August 2013 seems to be mail client month. I think I’ve looked at three in the past few weeks.  That should tell you how important mail clients still are in the computing world.  Email isn’t going the way of the dodo, and having a good app to get, organize and read mail is important, especially if you aren’t into Outlook.  That’s one of the big reasons why you might be interested in looking long and hard at Opera Mail. It’s an email client for Windows.

Opera Mail is a cool way to check mail.  Its elegant tabs allow you to view multiple messages at once and navigate between them with ease. Messages can be grouped into threads which help you organize your mail.  You can keep up with the context of any mail thread, and quickly view previous messages in the conversation.

OM-03

Opera Mail also supports labels.  They allow you to sort your messages quickly. All of these organizational tools allow you to take control of your inbox and set simple rules to sort mail automatically.

Opera Mail’s also has a built-in RSS feed reader provides automatic notification of updates to your favorite websites. In the absence of Google Reader, having the ability in Opera Mail isn’t bad, and gives you a decent way of finding and organizing RSS data in a way that’s easy to read.

Opera Mail is a decent application. Its easy to use and goes a long way to helping you organize your inbox and mail accounts.  The biggest issue with it, however, is that it doesn’t handle calendar data.  It may handle contacts within the app, but this is not a full PIM app.  Its unfortunate, as it would have been a much better app with that level of support.

download Opera Mail

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Foxmail – The Fireless Fox

logoThe email is basically the most used method to communicate today. There are plenty of email clients and each user can choose the one that suits better for his needs. I’ve chosen to test Foxmail, because I found it recently, and from some other reviews I learned that it’s quite something. The version 7.1 is expected to be lighter and faster, and is trying to cover all the needs that a user has: Standard email, Address book, and meetings, appointments, and RSS Feed.

Foxmail indeed is light and easy to use, once you figured out how to set it in english (we’ll get to that a bit later.). I’ve configured my Gmail email address very fast (just my email address and password), and the program detected automatically the port settings and all my emails were there in a flash, with all the folders set in my local language, according to my gmail settings. So, it’s a basic email client, with a basic design. On top of the menu bar, you have only 6 options: Check, Compose, Reply, Reply All, Forward and Delete. Of course, when you compose an email, you have advanced settings, like priority and so. You don’t need more from a basic email client.

foxmail

Now, the downside: The installer is in Chinese language, and you DON’T have an option to change that in the installer. I consider this a BIG drawback for the application. Even so, because it’s a standard Next-Next-Finish installer, I managed to install it and to configure the email address. And after that, I made a “blind” search to find out if there is any way to set the program to english. This is what you have to do (see the picture below about how to change this email client into english.). After all the changes applied, you have to restart the application in order the changes to take effect. EVRIKA! It worked! Now the program suddenly came out of the dark.

Foxmai-Instructions

Foxmail it is indeed the lightest email client I’ve worked with. But they really need to implement the select language option in the installer, and to set as default the english language for the application. The meeting and appointment features work great and you will be notified about every new email you get in a small and nice pop-up balloon in windows. Anyway, if you don’t want a little adventure with the Chinese language, I don’t recommend you to try it. But, if you do, and you need a basic email client, this is the right application for you.

download Foxmail

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Mozilla Thunderbird – a modern email client that is flexible and powerful

Mozilla Thunderbird is an open source, multiplatform and extensible email client. It has been around under free license and stable since 2004 and now at versions 10 and 11 is a fully featured and mature product.

All the features that you would expect from a modern email client are present: HTML support, multiple account support, whereby you can keep accounts separate or merge them together, Web mail, POP, IMAP and Microsoft Exchange server support, calendar, address book.

Thunderbird was designed to stop junk mail and prevent viruses, and includes intelligent spam filtering, suggesting when it thinks a message might be spam, S/MIME, data signing and message encryption and a phishing detector.

We found the trickiest part was setting up an email account, and especially if you hail from a webmail environment. There is a wizard to help you through this part.

Download and installation is swift. The client product and the user interface are clean, easy to use. The product can easily be customised through Add-Ons, available via the Tools Menu. Mail is presented in a tabbed format, so it looks a little like Outlook.

It is a good idea to save customisation until well into the process, that way you can get an idea of Thunderbird’s speed, before burdening it with additional software.

Thunderbird has been praised for the search facility. In Version 10 this includes the ability search the web. Email searches can be saved as virtual folders. There is an activity manager which records email activity. This can be used if you need to check whether a mail was sent or received. Emails can be archived in a stroke.

We have high expectations of our email clients to provide extensive functionality and Thunderbird will not disappoint. Since email is such a fundamental part of our lives, we think the security features of this product are excellent. It should not be overlooked for those considering a new email client.

Read full review | Download Mozilla Thunderbird

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Minus – Free online storage service with 10 GB guaranteed

There are lots of online storage services that provide free space to upload and share your files. But no one offers a space of 10 GB storage for free, except Minus service.

Besides its generous overall storage of 10 GB, the service supports files up to 2GB in size, either audio files, video files, images, or documents. Any of these type of files can be uploaded simply by drag-n-drop directly into the online interface or into the client application’s interface. Simplicity is another factor that makes this service exceptional. Even when you sign-up, the service will not ask you to complete long and boring forms. All you need to create an account is a username, a password and eventually your email address (optional).

Once uploaded, any file can be private, shared through links, or open to public view. This characteristics are useful for the social network elements implemented in the service. In this way the service can notify your friends about the files you have uploaded on all major social networks: Facebook, Twitter, or Google +.

While using the client app, you can browse your uploaded content and see its history. You can also grab a screenshot of your desktop and automatically the Minus client will upload it into your Minus account. Minus client app has been developed in several editions for different operating systems. At the moment you can find editions for Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone and Android mobile devices.

Minus for mobile allows you to upload files & photos to Minus from your mobile device, directly from the app or from the share menu. It keeps a history of uploaded files and galleries. You can also login to your account to access the files. Minus extensions allows you to take screenshots of your browser and auto-uploading it into your account. Additionally you can browse your galleries with this extension. In the future there will be also open source applications developed for the Minus API.

download Minus client for Windows | download Minus client for Mac

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TeamSpeak 3 has been released

Extremely popular around the MMO gamers, TeamSpeak is a VOIP application suitable for voice communication via the Internet. TeamSpeak is created on a platform that offers a client-server architecture where client and server software is clearly separated. This means that the server product runs as a dedicated server, rather than peer-to-peer. In this way the TeamSpeak server software is literally capable of handling thousands of simultaneous clients or users, which results in an Internet-based teleconferencing solution that works for a repertory of different applications such as an alternative to conference calls, cutting long distance telephone costs, or just as a method of personal communication with friends and family.

TeamSpeak 3 is a complete rewrite in C++ and continues the legacy of the original TeamSpeak communication system previously offered in TeamSpeak Classic (1.5) and TeamSpeak 2. Therefore the voice quality has been significantly improved through new codecs, advanced noise reduction and echo cancelation. Also the latency has been significantly lowered compared to TeamSpeak 2 and other voice communication software solutions. Besides the obvious improvements, TeamSpeak 3 comes with a fully integrated 3D sound support which allows spatial placement of sound effects and audio streams. This creates the illusion of a sound source being placed anywhere in three dimensional space, including behind, to the left of, to the right of, above, or below the listener. No special hardware is needed. Simply use your headset or 5.1/7.1 speakers to enjoy spatial sound.

With TeamSpeak 3 you can now connect to multiple voice servers at once. This can be controlled by using “tabs” similar to what is found in most web browsers. In this way you can  administer or participate in multiple TeamSpeak 3 Servers from a single interface. In addition, support for multiple audio devices and outputs over simultaneously connected servers is also available. Preferred servers are now stored as bookmarks, similar to your favorite web browser. TeamSpeak 3 was designed with cutting edge hardware in mind. Thus, it will have full support for the latest G-keys from Logitech in addition to other currently unannounced hardware manufacturers.

Another intersting new addition is the Friends/Foes list. When a friend or foe is added, the TeamSpeak 3 Client remembers your friend or foe’s unique identity regardless of whether they change their display/nickname, and regardless of what server you’re connected to. TeamSpeak 3 allows you to assign a custom nickname to your friends and can play a custom sound event when your friends come online. TeamSpeak 3 also tracks your friends/foes “last seen” date and allows you to permanently mute/ignore your foes.

In order to complete your social experience, Teamspeak 3 features file transfers.  Depending on your permissions, you can recursively upload or download files on a per-channel basis or into a common folder tree. All files are stored directly on the TeamSpeak 3 Server. Users no longer need to worry about how to setup FTP or mess with complicated firewall issues or other file sharing solutions. TeamSpeak 3 makes this automatically.

download TeamSpeak 3 for Windows | download TeamSpeak 3 for Mac

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Thunderbird 5 is available online

Mozilla released the 5th version of their popular mail client Thunderbird. The update comes as a major release, more than a year and a half, after its latest version 3.0. Mozilla decided to skip version 4.0 in order to synchronize this product with the latest installment of Firefox. Overall Thunderbird 5.0 comes with an improved email account wizard, a better tab system, and a brand new Add-ons and API Manager.

The improved email account wizard comes with a slightly different approach compared to its former version, following the latest trend present in other similar applications. Now setting up your account has been simplified. You just have to enter your address and password and Thunderbird will try to set your account automatically from its own database.

Thanks to the new tabs system, you can reorder each of them by just drag’n’drop them to another open window. The Add-ons manager is simlar to the one present in Firefox and includes most of the applications there. The basic platform has been improved so that Thunderbird now is much faster at start-up and significantly responsive. Also the stability and security have been also improved dramatically making it a real contender in the battle for the best email client.

download Thunderbird 5.0 for Win | Mac | Linux

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Minitube, your YouTube desktop client for Mac, Linux and Windows

Available for Mac, Linux and Windows, Minitube is a YouTube desktop application which can be used to watch/listen to YouTube in a new interesting way: you just type a keyword and Minitube gives you endless videos related to that specific keyword.

This means that if you’re in the mood to listen to ATB, you just type “ATB” into the search box and Minitube will play all the videos related to ATB, continuously.

Read full reviewDownload Minitube

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