VIPRE Anti-Virus Passed My Deep Scan


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This post brought to you by Sunbelt Software. All opinions are 100% mine.

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.

VIPRE antivirus

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.

Extra Features

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
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.

PC Explorer
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
– BHOs
– 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.

Final Thoughts

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.

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Not Your Average Bar Code Tattoo – It Scans


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Back in July, I upgraded my single parallel port tattoo to add on Fire Wire ports and a bar code. Underneath the bar code was my name in binary code and for those who don’t know binary, I wanted the bar code to scan properly to display my name, just in case. Below is the picture I posted online of my new ink.

Bar code and ports tattoos

When I told Jordan at Americana Tattoo that I had put off the bar code for years because it seemed everyone was doing one, I added that I finally decided to do it because I found a way to make mine unique. He told me how a surprising number of people ask for a bar code and just give him any random bar code to copy. Apparently, there’s a lot of people out there who, if thrown on a checkout line scanner at the supermarket, would likely come up as a $0.99 bottle of filtered water. Hearing that made mine seem so much better, but I never got around to scanning it until Friday, when a friend told me he scanned the picture of my tattoo with his T-Mobile G1 and it worked. Of course, I immediately headed to Jared’s office to borrow his G1 and try it myself. I took my video camera:

In case you’re wondering what got me thinking (and talking) about my tattoos again, take a look at some of the recent blog posts that I noticed popping up that were talking about it. I love that it inspires people to write about it.

http://snigit.blogspot.com/2008/08/techtoo-bar-code-and-ports.html

http://www.geekytattoos.com/joe-tech-is-versatile/

http://www.tattooblog.org/entry/joe-is-geeky-and-his-tattoo-too/

http://www.tattoo42.com/joe-is-geeky-and-his-tattoo-too.html

http://tystips.com/archives/39/techtoos-technology-related-tattoos/

There was another link in Spanish that I can’t find at the moment.

With all this tattoo action buzzing, it also got me thinking about what’s next. I know I want more ports, but I also want to move forward with the beginnings of what will be a whole cyborg theme. The ports are just a start. What’s the best geeky tattoo you’ve seen? Any suggestions on what I should do next?