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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Keep your Windows up to date with Windows Updates Downloader

In case you are a Windows user, you are struggling day by day  with updates, especially if you just installed your new copy of Windows. Managing the right updates for you, waiting for them to be downloaded, and stumble upon them every time you want to close your computer can be frustrating. In case you are fed up with all these, try another solution. The Windows Update Downloader was created by a regular participant of the MSFN.org forums, helping visitors with questions and problems regarding unattended Windows installations.

The problem with new installs is the length of time it can take to download and install updates. Windows Update Downloader collects all the latest patches into update lists, helping system administrators and power users deploy installations much faster.

Some people question the validity of this program when comparing it to alternatives, including Microsoft’s own automatic update utility. The basic function is the same in that it will download updates and install them, but the way in which it does it is much more convenient for advanced users looking to do multiple installs or upgrades. There is no waiting for updates to be drip-fed and the entire list of saved updates can be referenced and used immediately.

The Windows Update Downloader will appeal to power users looking to minimize the time spent on multiple installations with custom configurations. With ongoing active support and updates via the MSFN forums, users can resolve any issues quickly and easily. It has competition from other apps offering a similar service, but the support offered by the publisher for this freeware app may give it the winning edge.

read the full review | download Windows Updates Downloader

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Keep your PC safe with this industry leading malware tool – ESET NOD32 Antivirus

I had a friend of mine come to me and tell me of a malware infection he caught over the weekend. It happened because he was sent a piece of email, that he did NOT open; but the message hit his inbox and created a huge amount of havoc anyway. The virus got around his AV scanner.

Having the right AV scanner for your system is important, as my friend is likely going to have to completely blow his system and rebuild it from scratch. This is one of the reasons why I like ESET NOD32 Antivirus. It’s a professional malware prevention application for Windows.

ESET NOD32 Antivirus intercepts and eliminates viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware and other Internet threats with their proactive, heuristic technology. ESET NOD32 Antivirus protects you from known and emerging threats. It offers a simpler, more secure digital experience; and its accompanying Internet security training teaches you how to avoid cyber threats, scams and hackers to make your online experience even safer.

Its New, Enhanced Interface allows you to manage functionality efficiently with intuitive controls that includes access to Most Frequently Used Actions from all its screens. It also enables easier navigation of the advanced setup tree, including its customized, behavior-based HIPS to improve your PC’s security by specifying rules and permissions for the system registry and active processes and programs.

In today’s information-centric communities, ESET NOD32 Antivirus helps protect your data and your PC when you share files.  Not all computer threats come through the Internet. Removable Media Control protects you from potentially infected files exchanged through USB flash drives, CDs and DVDs. Its Cloud-Enhanced Whitelisting allows you to scan faster using its Cloud-Powered Reputation engine that compares your data to trusted files compiled in ESET’s Live Grid database of over 100 million ESET users.

Read full review | Download ESET NOD32 Antivirus

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Must Have Android Apps and Widgets for Business Users

For those that got an Android smartphone for Christmas, finding the right software to assist you in your work and personal life can be a bit of a challenge. Here are some great suggestions to get you started.

Any time you move to a new phone, you’ve got to determine if the software you’ve grown accustomed to or dependent upon will work on your new device. If you’re moving from one device to another that uses the same mobile OS, this isn’t a huge issue, however, when moving from, let’s say a Blackberry to an Android smartphone, this can be a problem.

A good friend of mine recently took a position at a new company and had to leave his Blackberry behind. He chose a new HTC EVO Shift 4G from Sprint; and while he loves the phone, moving from standard BB fare to something as connected and capable as the EVO Shift 4G can be a bit daunting, especially when you’ve got to integrate one device for both work and play into your life. There’s a great deal of valuable software in the Android Market that can help do that for you. Finding it, is the hard part. Here are my suggestions for must have applications that can help the busy work and road warrior integrate a new Android Phone into their daily routine.

Android Agenda Widget
Whether you’re a C-level exec or a busy soccer mom, having your schedule in front of you when you turn your device on, is a must have for many smartphone users. Unfortunately, the Android Calendar widget leaves a great deal to be desired. Thankfully, I found the Android Agenda Widget from Everybody all the Time. With the ability to display multiple calendars and supporting a number of different display sizes, this free Android widget fills a huge hole; and makes it easy to keep your next appointment in front of you.

Go Weather
EVERYBODY that I know of, loves the HTC Clock & Weather widget that their SenseUI interface made famous. Unfortunately, unless you root your non-HTC/non-SenseUI device and install a custom ROM on it, non-SenseUI devices won’t have anything similar available to them by default. Thankfully, a similar look and feel is available through apps from many different developers in the Android Market. One of my favorite freebies is Go Weather.

Like the HTC widget, the app is Location Services compatible, and will give you not only current time and weather conditions on your home screen, but a separate app that displays your extended, local forecast information. The application supports skinning, full motion HD video, has live wallpaper as well as a status bar icon that displays current temperature information for the location you’re currently “following.” The application is worth installing, regardless of the type of device you have, solely for its status bar, temperature icon.

 This gets your schedule and a decent weather presence on your device. It also gives you a healthy sense of how location services can provide value without compromising too much personal information. Come back next time, and I’ll give you my final recommendations for must have Android apps.

Launcher Pro
Android’s stock program launcher is ok; but there are other launchers available that offer increased functionality at a very reasonable price. Launcher Pro provides access to not only the standard Android application tray, but also an unlimited number of scrollable docks. The launcher is free, and is less memory intensive than SenseUI. The registered version is $3.49USD, and offers users access to its custom home screen widgets.

If you use Launcher Pro on a SenseUI device, you may disable SenseUI, so you’ll need to be aware of this.

Google Voice
All Android phones can benefit from Google Voice. Its deep OS integration provides for free, unlimited text messaging through your standard cellular data connection. Its visual voice mail features bring this highly coveted feature to all users regardless of what your carrier and specific voice/data plans provide for. Sprint users get the added benefit of using their standard cell number as their Google Voice number without having to port their number to Google Voice thanks to an agreement between Google and the number three US carrier.

Google Maps with Navigation
While Google Maps is a standard application from Google, not every Android device has it installed. This may be the case if your wireless carrier has a branded navigation app. In that case, installing and using this data connection dependent, free, turn-by-turn navigation app is high on my recommended application list. For a freebie, it’s one of the best navigation applications available, and its data connection dependency for map delivery insures that you’ve always got the latest maps for your geographic area.

There are a TON of other apps in the Android Market that are more than likely, part of the MUST have list in your mind. These, really are just a few, and despite what most anyone thinks, they’re safe and solid choices; and they WILL provide you with value.

Do you know of any other must have Android Apps for the business professional bringing their personal smartphone to the office, or for the busy prosumer? Why not join us in the discussion below and tell us about them?

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Opera reaches (another) 100 million users

Opera Browser

Opera Software today tinkered in its giant statistics machine and found that Opera Mini reached 100 million monthly users in March and two billion daily page views – new peaks for the world’s most used mobile browser.

The number of monthly Opera Mini users across the globe has grown by 11 million since February 2011 and doubled from the 50 million mark celebrated in February 2010.

Opera Mini’s twin March milestone, two billion daily page views, already doubles the one billion daily page views achieved in July 2010.

About Opera Mini

The Opera Mini mobile browser works on more than 3000 different mobile phone models, from basic feature phones to high-end smartphones. The unique Opera Mini technology compresses web content by up to 90 percent before sending it to the phone, resulting in faster page loading and lower browsing costs. It shares many features with Opera’s browsers for computers, including tabbed browsing, password manager, bookmarks and Speed Dial. Opera Mini is the world’s most popular browser and available as a free download from m.opera.com.

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