I use AVG AntiVirus Free to keep my PC clear of infections. Every so often the software pops up a little message warning me when one of my browsers is consuming too much memory, giving me the chance to restart the greedy program and free up resources. Just now it popped up a message telling me Firefox is using 1GB of RAM. Five minutes before that it notified me that Chrome, which I'm also running, was using 1GB as well.
If I fire up Task Manager and take a peek I see both of those memory hogs have nothing on Photoshop which is also running and has 30 x 12MB photos open, requiring it to use 2.6GB of RAM. I have 20 other programs on the go at the same time.
Google is the search leader for a reason -- it has the best results. That said, its presentation can be somewhat bland, especially when compared with its closest rival Bing.
Likely recognizing that its presentation needs some pizzazz, Google announces that it has launched a new carousel view. This view shows local results for restaurants, bars and other similar establishments in a strip at the top of the results screen.
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Microsoft Surface Pro gets even stiffer competition from new 11.6-inch Apple MacBook Air -- which one would you buy?
PC viruses and attacks may run rampant, but mobile threats tend to be rarer. We do hear of them though, and F-Secure reports an interesting new discovery.
The company confirms findings from one of its researchers that an existing server in the wild is designed to ignore computers, and go directly after your smartphone or tablet. The company claims, "we've discovered a server that only attacks and/or spams smartphones and tablets -- and not PCs".
If you don’t know what you want, how will you know when you find it? When selecting new enterprise software, most people completely underestimate the importance of requirements. You often hear things like "Identify your requirements, and focus on the most important ones". How easy to say, but how difficult to do! Like foundations are to a building, requirements are to software selection. If your requirements are defective, anything built on them is at risk.
Recently the US Air Force scrapped a massive ERP project after racking up $1B in costs. When the Senate probe into the failure has been completed, inadequate requirements can almost be guaranteed to have been a major contributor to this software disaster. An appropriate web search shows industry is replete with these software selection failures, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. Most of the time these problems don’t bubble up into the press or lawsuits, rather they simmer in the background, quietly corroding business productivity and sometimes destroying careers.
During the Xander Zhou fashion show in London, yesterday, Chinese maker Lenovo unveiled its first 15-inch ultrabook called the ThinkPad S531. The new device, however, is not all that new inside, featuring third-generation Core processors, rather than Intel's latest "Haswell" offerings.
Despite the fashion connection, the ThinkPad S531 is unlikely to win any design awards (well apart from the "boring boardroom choice"). The ultrabook looks rather understated (maybe a bit too much) and similar to Lenovo's other business-grade laptops, sporting an all-black look that is only interrupted by a couple of logos and the company's now-customary red trackpoint.
Seagate, working with IBM, has launched the fastest enterprise hard drive in the form of a 2.5-inch solid-state hybrid drive (SSHD). Oddly it sneaked this news out last week on the company's blog rather than trumpeting it in a press release.
The drive, for IBM System x servers, is based on Seagate's existing 600GB 2.5-inch drive spinning at 10,000 RPM with a 6Gb/s interface. It has 16GB of NAND flash storage and 128MB of cache on board.
Storing important files online is convenient, but it also poses a security risk. Even if your cloud service offers encryption, that won’t necessarily keep your data safe, as if someone manages to obtain your account password then they’ll probably be able to access whatever they like.
If you need real privacy, then, you might want to consider encrypting files before they’re uploaded. This adds a useful extra layer of protection which makes it far more difficult for an attacker to view your files. And it doesn’t have to involve any real extra work, either -- the open source CryptSync makes the process almost automatic.
As enterprises adopt more cloud applications they’re becoming more reliant on data centers and systems which are outside their control. Performance management hasn't kept up with this trend as existing tools don't see what’s going on outside the corporate network and so can’t reflect the times when cloud apps are slow or down.
San Francisco based ThousandEyes has launched an answer to this problem with a tool that can recognize all of the layers involved and pinpoint where a problem lies. It can be set up as a Linux package or virtual appliance at multiple locations and is able to detect issues in real time.
The NSA expects to scale back its phone tracking program in the near future, the agency’s director says. The comments came as part of a broader hearing in front of the House Intelligence Committee over the recent disclosures of NSA activities.
Director Gen. Keith Alexander told California Rep. Adam Schiff during questioning that his agency and the FBI are reviewing how the phone tracking program might be changed. Currently, the NSA asks only for the metadata -- general information about the call like phone numbers, duration, and location -- whether the person is suspected of terrorism or not, and en masse.
The Document Foundation has released LibreOffice 4.0.4 for Windows, Mac and Linux. The latest version of this open-source office suite, which includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentations tool and database, as well as drawing and math tools, is primarily a bug fix, but also includes various interoperability improvements with proprietary documents.
The release comes as TDF announces plans to step up its road-testing of LibreOffice 4.1, which is scheduled to appear at the end of July. Version 4.1 will include many new features and improvements, some of which are detailed below.
On Wednesday, Taiwanese maker HTC unveiled a beefed up version of its Butterfly Android smartphone, called Butterfly S. The new handset, which bears an uncanny resemblance to its six months-old predecessor, features improved hardware specifications and runs "Android Jelly Bean" (the iteration is not revealed at this point).
Similar to the Butterfly and other high-end Android smartphones, the Butterfly S packs a 5-inch Super LCD 3 display with a resolution of 1080 by 1920 and a 440 ppi (pixels per inch) density. The handset is powered by a 1.9 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor (that is also found in the Samsung Galaxy S4) coupled with 2 GB of RAM and a whopping 3,200 mAh battery (by contrast, the Butterfly sports a 2,020 mAh unit).
Snowdon (not Snowden) is the name of the tallest mountain in Wales and while by Swiss or Colorado standards it may not seem like much the weather on Snowdon is unpredictable and has taken many lives. I climbed Snowdon as a schoolboy with my class and that day on the mountain another school group was lost in a blizzard and some boys died. This is what first came to mind when I heard about National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaking documents and fleeing to Hong Kong. Like his namesake mountain, this Snowden is trouble for those who are overconfident or unwary.
I’ve written about this general topic many times over the years and doing a search here and at PBS will yield a great deal that I’d rather not have to repeat. We’ve been here before. Maybe not so much in terms of there being a whistle-blower or a traitor (your choice of terms -- I’d say whistle-blower), but these surveillance programs are either old hat or logical extensions of what came before. I’m not defending them, I’m saying we shouldn’t be surprised they exist.
Piriform has released Speccy 1.22, a minor update to its free Windows system information tool. Despite the minor version number, version 1.22 contains a number of notable changes and improvements.
Speccy 1.22 -- also available as a standalone portable build -- opens with support for adding the temperature sensor output to the program’s Taskbar Notification Area icon.
Microsoft just released the second major iteration of its Blink Windows Phone 8 app which now introduces GIF (the pronunciation is still open for debate) support, new features and improved functionality.
The app, which is built by Microsoft Research (the software giant's research arm), allows users to take advantage of its burst shot feature to combine multiple pictures (the number is user-selectable) into a GIF image. The GIF can be viewed directly after creating it and can be shared via email and three social networks -- Facebook, Microsoft's Socl and Twitter. (It's time to test this with the help of your pet and post the results, for posterity's sake of course.)
Symantec has updated its suite of Windows security products with the release of Norton Antivirus 2013 v20.4, Norton Internet Security 2013 v20.4 and Norton 360 2013 v20.4. Version 20.4 is primarily a bug-fix release, with some notable fixes, but also tweaks the user interface.
One visible change for users who also have Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free installed as additional protection is a fix that prevents Norton from blocking or flagging up MBAM as incompatible.