It’s time for another giveaway contest. This time, I’m giving away a Guitar Link so you can hook your guitar right into your PC or MAC and make some awesome music.
How To Enter
Entering is easy. Just use the contest widget below to like JoeTech.com on Facebook. Bam! 5 easy entries. Then you can earn more entries if you: Follow @JoeTech on Twitter, tweet about the contest, or watch the video above and comment on this blog post to tell me what your favorite guitar sound was that I demonstrated in the video.
This is for the hardware geeks. The other day, I found this image seemingly from sonic84.com. It’s a chart of computer hardware, with images and detail right down to some pin and voltage information. It might serve as a handy chart or it might be just fun to look at. Either way, I thought I’d share it with you.
Bonus points if you can guess (or just know) how many of these I have tattooed on my body.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been trying out VIPRE Antivirus software. It’s a different anti-virus solution that also has anti-malware and other security features built in.
Features I Expected
Any anti-virus software I use needs to do a few things at a bare minimum on top of the obvious virus scanning. It should keep its virus definitions up to date regularly. Anti-virus software isn’t much good if a new virus slips by. VIPRE was updating every 2-5 days, it seemed. I think it even updated twice in a day. It’s good to know it was polling the server often enough to get new information quickly. Email should also be protected. I’ve always said you should never open any attachment you don’t trust and that isn’t expected, but it’s better to have anti-virus software that will catch those emails before you even see them. VIPRE does that, too. Finally, any anti-virus software worth its salt will perform real-time scans. When a new file is introduced to your computer via a download or any other means, VIPRE scans it right away.
Other things I like to see from my anti-virus software are detailed information about a virus or threat, notifications when something is found and the ability to choose my own actions for each threat or set defaults. VIPRE covered all these bases pretty well. The only thing I didn’t see that I have been spoiled with in the past is a web resource with even more detail and the ability to see new threats that I should be aware of. VIPRE does have a Global Threat Level displayed on the main screen that, I imagine will shoot right to the maximum when some crazy new virus starts wreaking havoc on large networks.
This is where VIPRE stands out from the crowd. From the main screen, I clicked a Tools tab that had the following added functionality. I hadn’t expected it, but I did appreciate its presence.
Secure File Eraser
This says it completely removes all traces of files but I was unable to try it as it’s not available in my 64 bit Windows. When you delete a file in Windows, you’re really just deleting the ability to see or open it while leaving the file’s data on the hard drive. There’s software that will let you recover files that have been deleted and there’s software that will allow you to completely wipe a file out. That’s what this does.
History Cleaner clears search and browse histories from many applications, like you might expect. You just select the programs you want to clear your information from and it does it all for you. Like the Secure File Eraser, it’s not really needed as a part of an anti-virus package, but it’s a nice added tool.
Windows has a lot of settings that can be hard to get to or even understand. PC Explorer is kind of like a dashboard for all the things software might install or change on your computer that you should be aware of. With short descriptions where available, VIPRE tries to simplify the process of manually keeping your system clean from garbage you don’t need. They do a good job of it, too. I’m pretty discriminate about what I let software install or change on my PC, but most people would be surprised at what they’ll find under the hood. Each of the following provides a list of items that are marked as safe, unknown, suspicious, or hazardous with the ability to whitelist things:
- Downloaded Active X components
- Running internet applications
- Running processes
- Startup programs
- Windows host file
- Windows LSPs
- Shell Execute Hooks
These are things you should be looking at now and then and if you aren’t, make it a new year’s resolution.
While VIPRE could stand to expand their anti-virus efforts beyond just the software and feel a little more community friendly like a couple of the larger outfits out there, saying that the software is feature-rich is an understatement. The added tools eliminates the need for additional software packages, and helps make it an all-in-one solution. Most of all, VIPRE’s footprint, both in terms of system resources and my wallet is about half that of other solutions. Although it still takes a long time to scan my gazillion files, the memory and CPU hit are both pretty minimal and the license is only about $30 for a year. If you’re not already using VIPRE, download it and give it a shot.