Showing posts with the label software

Analyze your computer and reveal software keys

I've been using Belarc Advisor , a free personal tool for analyzing your Windows computer, for some time now. It will provide a detailed analysis of several items: Installed hardware Installed software and version number Windows Updates, and indicate if any are missing Checks for virus protection and last scan Software keys Software usage (frequency) User accounts and last login What I like best is that it reports the software keys of my installed software. While it doesn't appear to grab all software keys on my personal computer, it lists all of them from my work computer including Microsoft, Adobe, Corel and TechSmith. I recently used it before rebuilding my Dad's computer. In addition to being certain to have his software license keys, I was able to also view what programs he hadn't used in sometime -- therefore I didn't reinstall them. Considering adding more RAM to your PC? Instead of taking the cover off to do a visual inspection, use Belarc Advisor to identi

Add an extra layer of security for Win XP users

Long time readers of my blog know that I am not very fond of Internet Explorer and Outlook Express because of their security vulnerabilities. Due to that, I switched a long time ago to Firefox and Thunderbird. Unfortunately due to my job, I find myself having to use Internet Explorer more and more. We have a 3rd-party application that we access over the Internet that requires Internet Explore. In addition, I do our web development, which requires that I test everything in Internet Explorer. Also, I have assumed responsibilities for the Webmaster role for the Cascade Blues Association (CBA), which again requires testing in Internet Explorer. It also added another email account to monitor. In order to keep the CBA account separate from my personal and work email accounts, I decided to re-load Outlook Express. So back to my point. Most users, including me, run Windows XP with Administrative privileges. For most folks it's due to not knowing any better or not knowing how to change. Fo

DRM hits you coming and going

If you re unfamiliar with the term DRM, it stands for digital rights management. The record (RIAA), movie (MPAA), and software industry has used forms of DRM to prohibit you from sharing your purchased digital goods with others. This continues to be a headache for the honest, while the less honest folks are able to find free "cracked" version of the same materials. Take for example if you purchased music from the likes of Microsoft or Yahoo! You were notified (hopefully) this past year that they will no longer support these services. For reasons that appear to agree with what has been argued all along -- that DRM only impacts honest, paying customers -- Microsoft, Yahoo!, and now Wal-Mart are reversing their business models by discontinuing the DRM practice. Microsoft and Yahoo! have easied up some what on their position, to give you more time to find a work-around, but nevertheless you are left either with losing the music once your current PC dies or the burden of transf

Simple backup and file move utility

I was looking earlier in the week for a simple utility to monitor a folder and update equivalent folders on two other machines, based on content changing. I found SyncBackSE from 2BrightSparks to do the trick. This $30 utility program saved me countless hours in writing my own solution. SyncBackSE comes with a fully functional 30 day trial. SyncBackSE can be used to backup files or to keep folders in sync. Sounds pretty simple, but it can get rather complex. SyncBackSE has two configuration interfaces, easy and expert. Let me run through creating a simple backup Profile. Click Ctrl-N to start a new Profile. Select source and destination directories (folders). These can be on mapped drives or even UNC paths. Accept the default backup (or sync) settings, or adjust as required. For example: If a file appears on the destination, but not on the source, do you want to delete it or copy it back to the source? If a file has changed on the destination, but not on the source, do you want to ov

SnagIt for professional looking screen captures

If you have been a regular reader of my blog, you have likely noticed the images and photos have a nice shadow and sometimes torn edges. These are two of the many features available from SnagIt -- a screen capture and editing program from TechSmith. SnagIt screen capture of a long (scroll) list SnagIt's screen capture options are pretty powerful. For example, you can use it to scroll a window to get the entire contents. And if the scroll is part of a drop-down box, SnagIt can capture that as well. It can even do short video captures of your screen. In addition to the screen capture features, the latest version of the editing functions is better than ever. TechSmith has made it easy to add objects such as call-outs and arrows, with the ability to move them after placing them without having to understand layers or other more complex editing techniques. From the TechSmith website, here are the system requirements : Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, XP x64, Vista 32-bit, or Vista 64-bit i

Open Source Software -- Free and Legal

I recently ran across a blog posting at The Simple Dollar titled 30 Essential Pieces of Free (and Open) Software for Windows . They are not quite all essential; perhaps 10 are. Many I have heard of, but a few are new to me. Of course it lists popular open source software such as Firefox , Thunderbird , and Audacity , but there are some other good ones including Filezilla (FTP client), Handbrake (watch DVDs locally without the DVD), and FreeMind (mind mapping). Check this blog post and see what you might be paying for that you could get for free and legal.