Tag Archives: 2011

TOP 10/20/50/100 Lists – The Best Of The Best?

imageThe whopping number of “TOP” 10/20/50/100 Software lists, shot our way every year at this time, can in fact, have some value – at least the top 10/20 selections.

Running past the 20 mark though ….. often seems pointless. In most cases, I find my enthusiasm takes a big hit once I’ve bounced past the 20 mark.

So, while Santa was making his list and checking it twice, I took the opportunity to zip around the Web and selected a few “best of”, “top of”, lists – short, manageable lists.

BTW – if you’ve ever wondered as to the popularity of “top” lists – the Google search screenshot below, might surprise you – 200+ Million! Who knew!

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PCWorld’s Favorite Downloads of 2011 – All year long, PCWorld reviewers immerse themselves in desktop programs and Web software. These programs and services are the ones reviewed for PCWorld Downloads.

20 Best Browser Apps of 2011 – Your browser is now a source of apps for games that you can play for hours, services that will keep you safe, and simple utilities that can be useful or fun. Read on to learn more about the 20 best browser apps of the year.

The Best Games of 2011 – These days, you can play video games on just about every device that can run an app. Home consoles and portables may immediately come to mind but you can also game on phones, tablets and, of course, on PCs–both as installed apps and inside Web browsers. These are the best of the best.

Best of Google Maps and Google Earth 2011 – Using these Google tools, you can now see the insides of large stores, views of the world’s magnificent mountains, and a record of the devastation of Japan, among many other advancements.

TechRepublic: Hot software downloads in 2011 – Disk analysis and optimization, PC diagnostics, and security are among the themes of the software downloads in this year-end roundup. These seven software downloads are among the most downloaded items from TechRepublic’s Software directory in 2011.

Project Gutenberg:  Top 100 EBooks – Project Gutenberg offers over 36,000 free ebooks to download to your PC, Kindle, Android, iOS or other portable device. Choose between ePub, Kindle, HTML and simple text formats.

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PandaLabs Reports – 73,000 New Malware Threats EVERY DAY!

When I start my day, it never enters my mind to consider whether or not I’ll be mugged that day; if my home will be burglarized; or if I’ll be the victim of any type of crime. Except in one circumstance.

Each time I start an Internet session, I consciously consider the odds that I will be a victim of cyber criminals. I know I’ll have to deal with attempts to scam me; attempts to compromise my machine through driveby downloads; infected downloads and applications; infected web sites and redirections – the list goes on… and on …and on.

Little wonder then, that I was not in the least surprised to see PandaLabs reveal in their malware report on the most notable malware trends for the first 3 months of 2011,  that surfers are now exposed to 73,000 new malware threats every day –  an increase of 10,000 over the same time frame last year.

Report highlights:

Incidence of new malware has increased 26 percent over the same period last year.

PandaLabs now observes on average of 73,000 malware samples every day, an increase of 10,000.

Trojans remain the most popular type of threat, accounting for 70 percent of all malware.

Downloaders, a subtype of Trojan, have seen an astounding increase over the last 3 months.

New malware growth from Q1 2010 through Q1 2011.

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Malware by type.

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In the following graphic you’ll note that Downloaders, a lightweight Trojan since it contains only a few lines of code (making it harder to detect), have increased dramatically. Downloaders are particularly dangerous, since they are designed to connect to the Net to facilitate the downloading of additional malware.

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I’ll risk sounding like a broken record, and repeat what I’ve said numerous times here –

“Controlling malware intrusion, while surfing the Net, through the use of a  “virtual” environment rather than operating in a “real” environment, makes sense given the escalating level of cyber criminal activity on the Internet.”

BufferZone, is a particular effective and easy to use freeware virtualization application (perfect for casual users), which creates an isolated environment called the Virtual Zone, while you surf the Internet. You can read more about BufferZone, here.

About PandaLabs:

Since 1990, PandaLabs, Panda Security’s malware research laboratory, has been working to detect and classify malware in order to protect consumers and companies against new Internet threats.

To do so, PandaLabs uses Collective Intelligence, a cloud-based proprietary system that leverages the knowledge gathered from Panda’s user community to automatically detect, analyze and classify the more than 73,000 new malware strains that appear every day.

This automated malware classification is complemented through the work of an international team with researchers specialized each in a specific type of malware (viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware and other attacks) to provide global coverage.

Get more information about PandaLabs and subscribe to its blog news feed here.

Follow Panda on Twitter and Facebook.

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Filed under Cyber Crime, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Freeware, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Reports, Online Safety, PandaLabs, Safe Surfing, Software, trojans, Windows Tips and Tools

PDF Converter PDFZilla Giveaway – Free Until February 5, 2011 – Save $30

PDFZillaThe developers of PDFZilla, are giving away a free license (in a limited time giveaway), for their highly regarded PDF Converter. This free offer is set to expire on February 5, 2011.

PDFZilla is a desktop application that quickly converts PDF files into editable MS Word Documents, Rich Text Documents, Plain Text Files, Images, HTML Files, and Shockwave Flash SWF Files.

I ran a single quick test on a 9 page (1 MB) PDF file conversion to a text file, which took under 5 seconds and produced an output file of acceptable quality. Certainly acceptable enough to be able to work with the output easily.

There’s no learning curve involved with  PDFZilla – the GUI is push button simple – as illustrated in the following screen capture.

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Fast facts:

Convert PDF to Word Convert PDF to Word with all text and Graphical data.
Convert PDF to RTF Convert PDF to Rich Text Files. You can edit all text and graphic by Windows Wordpad.
Convert PDF to TXT Convert PDF to plain text files. You can edit text by Notepad.
Convert PDF to Images – Convert PDF to BMP, JPG, GIF or TIF files.
Convert PDF to HTML – Convert PDF to HTML files and automatically generate the Index file.
Convert PDF to SWF Convert PDF to Shockwave Flash Animation files which can be published on websites.
Page Selection Convert all the pages, or partial pages of PDF file.

Over 20 Languages Supported – Besides English, PDFZilla Also supports German, French, Spanish, Italian and all Unicode Language PDF Files.

Batch Mode – Convert More Than 10,000,000 PDF Files to Word.

System requirements: Windows Me/2000/XP/2003/Vista/Server 2008/7/NT

To take advantage of this limited time offer go to the Download.com download page. Following installation, register the product with this registration code  – 8061822TWDV6YUK. Simply copy and then paste the license key into the application.

Quick reminder: This offer is good until February 5, 2011.

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Filed under downloads, Free Full Versions, Free PDF Software, Giveaways, Productivity Software, Software Giveaways, Windows Tips and Tools

Happy New Year 2011

Dear readers and subscribers,

As 2010 comes to a close, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you, and your family, a happy, and healthy New Year. May 2011 fulfill all its promise, and may all your expectations be exceeded.

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“Every man should be born again on the first day of January.  Start with a fresh page.  Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were, and are past”.

~    Henry Ward Beecher

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Filed under Living Life, Personal Perspective

IdentityMine’s 2010 Report On Mobile Application Development Trends

imageI’ve been around computing since long before the PC was even a spark in the consciousness of those involved in data manipulation.

I’m speaking here of a computer that is used in a “personal” manner. In fact, my first exposure to computers and programming was (if you can imagine this), in 1966.

In the years since, I’ve watched the incredible growth and buoyancy of the PC and connected devices market, with absolute amazement. But, the growth in the mobile market, and the  increased functionality of mobile devices, has not only amazed me, but has left me dizzy!

I found that keeping up with the breathtaking changes in the mobile/connected devices world, has been more than a bit of a challenge. Luckily, I discovered a solution that ties the missing bits and pieces together, all in one place.

IdentityMine, a leading-edge digital application and software solution developer for multi-screen, multi-touch, multi-platform, and multi-hardware devices, recently released its Application and Mobile Application Development Trends Report for 2011, which includes for good measure, a look at what we can expect in this expansive market in 2011.

This report has been the perfect catch up tool which brought into focus a number of data points that had completely passed me by. If you need a refresher on what’s been happening in the mobile market, and what’s likely to occur in the coming year, you’ll find the following information invaluable.

Application and Mobile Application Development Trends Impacting 2010 (and the Outlook for 2011):

1. In 2010, Mobile stopped being about form factor – it became about users. Mobile previously was defined as anything that can travel with you (not just phones) – including tablets. In 2010, Zuckerberg redefined mobile as anything that you can use while ambulating, which is basically anything that fits into your hands (and does not include tablets and laptops). We can already see this trend happening with iPhone 4 and Windows Phone 7.  In 2011, we can expect smaller form factor out of all our devices and the focus to shift from mobile devices to mobile users with a variety of hardware devices.

2. In 2010, IdentityMine became aware that Mobile devices were vector transmitters.  In 2010, IdentityMine created an unscientific study and found that touch-enabled devices like, iPads, smart phones and other devices particularly in high-traffic environments such as hospitals, retails stores, and hotel lobbies mobile devices transmitted illness.  When sick people use an iPad and pass it around, other people pick up germs.  In 2011, we can anticipate that healthcare will increase attention on gesture-based navigation (as opposed to touch-based) as a way to prevent disease/virus transmission.  We foresee applications for gesture everywhere from clinic waiting rooms to surgical suites.

3. In 2010, People let go of keyboards and mice. Two revolutionizing technologies occurred in rapid succession prompting this phenomena (iPad and Kinect). NOTE: iPad isn’t gesture-based. The iPad managed to do what tablets had been trying to achieve for some time, and surprisingly was a huge hit with seniors and baby boomers, who are not usually early adopters. Kinect was a game changer, particularly with developers. While some speculated that Kinect it seemed like a response to the Wii, Kinect actually taught UX experts new ideas about navigation and gesture control and they are already utilizing the hardware to produce applications that are gesture-based. We can expect more gesture-enabled and voice-enabled applications in 2011.

4. In 2010, the gaming market started redefining the software application market. We can expect this to continue into 2011.  Enterprise applications will take on gaming features with Gamification. We can expect companies to start managing employee activity through apps.  Anticipate that companies will integrate a reward/badge system.  Applications like Yelp, FourSquare, and Gowalla added game play to every day activities, and in 2011/2012, we expect enterprises and non-recreational applications to start incorporating gaming-style rewards to non-gaming behaviors.

Additional Application and Mobile Application Development Trends Impacting 2011:

1. Application Design becomes increasingly important. With the release of iPhone 4, Droid and Windows 7, mobile users became addicted to good design in 2010. Mobile application providers tried to provide intuitive applications. In 2011, we can expect that UX designers at agencies will be tasked to create beautiful intuitive design.

2. People will want the cloud even if they don’t realize they want the cloud. We can also expect that every application will need to function with a single login.  UX designs will be tasked to figure out how to minimize login experiences without compromising security.

3. In 2011, We can expect continued Market Fragmentation when developing applications. Even though developers are being pushed to choose between specializing in a UX (Mobile, Touch, Desktop, etc.) and specializing in a platform (IOS, .NET, Silverlight, MonoDroid, etc.), Developers will need to develop apps for multiple devices/platforms. Much like the .com boom, the strong will survive, while application development will become despecialized (especially as more tools are available)

4. Application development bubble will take on air. In 2010, consumers saw a plethora of applications hit the market. The bubble is growing, and will probably burst in the next 12-18 months.

5. Application Monetization will continue to take more of a focus. Many applications are incredibly cheap, considering the effort that goes into making a sophisticated one (such as IMDb or History Here or SBB). Because the price points make it difficult to monetize apps, there will be an increase in ad-sponsored apps.

6. Application utility will take more of a focus. Apple and other vendors are encouraging volume for application monetization. However, out of 250k apps in the Apple app store, only a small percentage actually are used long-term and have lasting impact. In 2011, we can expect there to be a host of applications that improve people’s lives. 3/4s of apps are deleted within 72 hours of being downloaded; in 2011 the focus will be on useful apps as much as fun ones.

7. Microsoft kicked some ass – both WP7 and Kinect, which came out mere months apart were legitimate advancements in technology, vs. the “long-follow” approach that they were typically accused of.  Windows Phone 7 is a big advancement for mobile app developers (which will ultimately benefit users), and Kinect leapfrogged Wii and other gaming companies are rushing to compete.

About IdentityMine, Inc.

Headquartered in Tacoma, WA, IdentityMine is an expert interactive design and user experience (UX) company. They develop leading-edge digital applications and software solutions for multi-screen, multi-touch, multi-platform, and multi-hardware devices for a variety of markets including mobile, retail and sports. They are able to create unique digital interactive user experiences by leveraging deep expertise in a variety of platforms to deliver highly engaging mobile, Internet and other media experiences for major brands in mainstream markets.

Clients include: Microsoft, Path 36, The New Orleans Saints, Elektra NOC, Nordstrom and others.  More information about IdentityMine can be found here.

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Filed under cell phone, Cell Phone Apps, Connected Devices, Integrated Solutions, Interconnectivity, iPad, Reports, Windows Tips and Tools

rPath’s Jake Sorofman Crystal Balls The Cloud In 2011

Guest writer Jake Sorofman, chief marketing officer for rPath, rubs his crystal ball and surveys the IT landscape for the coming year – with a particular focus on the cloud.

Catch a glimpse of the 2011  cloud computing environment – see if you agree with Jake’s crystal ball view of what’s in store in 2011  for cloud computing enthusiasts.

imagePublishing end-of-year predictions has become de rigueur for anyone with an opinion and a blogging platform. Few of these predictions are founded in any scientific analysis with any degree of statistical confidence. They’re raw, intuitive reflection, expression and judgment based on unique experience and points of view.

But as we’ve learned in the age of social everything, there’s wisdom in the crowds. So, as my contribution to the crowd, here are my IT predictions for 2011:

1. Private cloud proliferates – The second half of 2010 was all about the private cloud. The rise of the public cloud brought new clarity and focus for the CIO, who recognized that, without a transformation in its delivery models, IT organizations would be disrupted and perhaps disintermediated by the speed, flexibility and economy of public cloud services. In 2011, we’ll see widespread investment in private cloud projects, as IT leadership defines the reference architecture for next-generation IT delivery models.

2. Public cloud thrives – At the same time, we’ll see continued growth—explosive growth—in public cloud services, where affinity will continue to bind to small and mid-sized businesses and non-production enterprise workloads. We’ll also see more evidence of rogue workloads leaking to the public cloud outside of the reach of corporate policies. This will motivate IT leadership to define governance models for controlled usage of public cloud services.

3. Hybrid cloud emerges – Definition of such governance models will enable enterprise IT to begin experimenting with hybrid cloud models. Initially, this will look like a simple stratification of deployment environments based on lifecycle stage—for example, dev and test workloads only in public cloud. But such early experimentation will enable IT leaders to define the reference architecture for the dynamic data center of the future, where workloads can move fluidly between deployment environments. By enabling application portability, workloads become a liquid commodity and a marketplace emerges. IT can dynamically retarget workloads based on optimizations for price, policy or performance, and they achieve true leverage over service providers.

4. Ecosystem rules – And speaking of leverage … fear of leverage lost through expanding hegemony of virtualization and cloud infrastructure providers (read: VMware) will conspire with frustration over the pace of innovation—giving rise to a new class of smaller, independent providers that become important vendors in their own rights. Best of breed tools will become integrated ecosystem-led solutions that represent a foundation for making this transformation to delivering IT as a service.

5. Power is redistributed – IT leverage over service providers means better cost-economies and more innovation, as software and service providers are forced to differentiate and add deeper, more sustainable value to IT customers. This will fuel the transformation of IT delivery models as enabling technologies mature and cost is driven down. For providers, it will lead to new niche markets and specialized domains (think: industry-specific clouds, for example) as a basis for sustaining unique advantage under the threat of commoditization. We’ll see early signs of this dynamic in 2011, but it will take several years for it to fully manifest.

6. New models for IT leadership – New architectures that enable dynamic workload portability will change the ideals of the CIO from operationally focused to sourcing and portfolio focused. We’ll see some old-line CIOs cycle out in the face of change. And we’ll see new stars born on the basis of a new vision for IT, inspired—and not threatened—by the rise of public cloud services. The successful among them will find ways to define the “to-be” IT delivery model, while also looking after “as-is” realities. New expectations for IT will lead to new expectations for IT leadership to guide us through what is going to be a mandatory transformation.

So, that’s it: my predictions for 2011. Take them for what they’re worth—which is to say, take them in the context of other predictions. Then draw your own conclusions.

That’s how we all get closer to the truth.

Jake Sorofman is chief marketing officer for rPath, an innovator in automating system deployment and maintenance across physical, virtual and cloud environments. Learn more about rPath here.

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Filed under Cloud Computing, Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Networking, Opinion