Tag Archives: Spyware Doctor

Google Pack Software Revisited – The Good, the Bad and the Useless

Google Pack 2 The applications offered in Google Pack are an interesting compilation of  freebies – some of them are quite useful and  worthwhile adding to your system. On the other hand, some of them are not only useless, but are potentially hazardous to your system security.

The good:

Google Chrome Web Browser:

image

Google has developed an impressive browser with a focus on speed strong integrated search features. I’ll stick with Firefox though since I find Chrome just a little too simply for the type of work that I do. Some consider Chrome the safest browser available, but this conclusion is definitely subjective.

Google Apps:

image

Cloud computing is where it’s at, or soon will be, according to the futurists. Personally, I think the jury is still out.

Google though, has tied its wagon to the concept of cloud computing, and  Google Apps reflects this direction. Using this collection of online (cloud based) applications you can plan (Calendar), stay in touch (Gmail), and collaborate (Docs). Since these are cloud based apps you can reach them from anywhere you have an Internet connection.

I should point out that Google Apps are available for business and education. Both are enhanced versions of the free personal version.

Note: Google recently released Google Wave, an additional online tool for real-time communication and collaboration. For more information on Wave, checkout Scoroncocolo TechPages.

Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus:

image

The version of the highly regarded Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus included in Google Pack, does include full scan and remove capabilities, scheduled scans, database updates, but only limited real-time protection from both spyware and viruses.

I’ve reviewed this application a number of times, and consider it an outstanding secondary scanner. However, I do not recommend that you use this restricted version as a primary defense against malware, because of its limited real-time protection .

Picasa:

image

Some might say that Picasa is the best free piece of photo managing and editing software you can find. Up to a point, I agree. As a basic photo manager and viewer, it’s pretty terrific.

Bonus features include a full complement of editing tools, supplemented with the ability to create photo CDs, photo collages, screensavers, and posters. Not bad for a free application!

Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar:

image

If you’re looking for  a Browser that you can customize to your hearts content, then download Firefox. There are literally thousands of totally free ways to customize Firefox to meet all of your personal needs. The big advantage to Firefox, in my view, is the ability you have to customize this Browser with security add-ons that raise the security bar substantially.

P.S. Forget about the Google Toolbar.

Skype:

image

Skype has become my preferred method of contact. I use the free Skype video calling feature, dozens of times a day to speak with contacts worldwide.

In its basic form, Skype is a free communication package, using proprietary code, which allows users to make free computer to computer calls, including video calls, across the globe. As well, there are a bundle of additional features, that can be purchased at a low cost, which will expand the application’s functionality.

Google Talk:

image

Google Talk is a cool application that includes Instant messaging, PC-to-PC voice chat , the ability to send, receive and leave voicemails,  along with unlimited file transfers (no file size or bandwidth restrictions).

Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but I prefer single purpose applications, and I would choose Skype over Google Talk.

Google Earth 5:

image

I couldn’t say it better than Google so, “Google Earth lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean. You can explore rich geographical content, save your toured places, and share with others”.

This is truly an amazing piece of technology – I just never get tired of it!

The bad:

Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer:

image

I have seen machines with more than 20+ installed toolbars, and this type of nonsensical download is one of the reasons why. Another toolbar? Lord help us!

Google Desktop:

image

According to Google with desktop installed you can – “Find all your email, files, web history, and more. Get all your personalized info in one place with Sidebar”. So what could be wrong with that?

Well, if privacy and security is a concern – plenty. eSecurity Planet has a great article that exposes the major downside of installing this “spyware” on your computer. If you’re considering installing this program, I encourage you to checkout “Google Desktop: Next Big Thing or Dangerous Tool?”, first.

The Useless:

Adobe Reader:

image

Without a doubt, one of the most hacked pieces of  software – ever! That’s bad enough, but Adobe, for all intents and purposes, seems not to care. On top of that, this application is the very definition of “bloatware”.

Don’t even consider this program. Instead, choose one of a number of much faster, more streamlined free application such as Foxit Reader, for Firefox, or Sumatra PDF Viewer for Windows.

RealPlayer:

image

If you need a clunky, slow, ugly player, and you are the type of person who likes to be nagged constantly, then this application will give you what you want. If you think I’m being tough on this piece of crap, then read PC Mag’s “The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time”.

VLC Media Player, on the other hand, an open source cross platform application, is a long recognized superior performer that gives you frame-by-frame advancement, granular speed controls allowing for on-the-fly slower or faster playback, and live recording of streaming video.VLC offers support for a wide range of video and audio formats, including OGG, MP2, MP3, MP4, DivX, HD codecs like AES3, Raw Dirac, and even support for playing back zipped files.

Google Apps System requirements: Windows XP, Vista Win 7

Google Pack

Download at: Google

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

13 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Browsers, downloads, Firefox, Freeware, Google, Google Chrome, Image Editors, Skype, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Google Pack Software – The Good, the Bad and the Useless

Google Pack 2 The applications offered in Google Pack are an interesting compilation of  freebies – some of them are quite useful and  worthwhile adding to your system. On the other hand, some of them are not only useless, but are potentially hazardous to your system security.

The good:

Google Chrome Web Browser:

image

Google has developed an impressive browser with a focus on speed strong integrated search features. I’ll stick with Firefox though since I find Chrome just a little too simply for the type of work that I do. Some consider Chrome the safest browser available, but this conclusion is definitely subjective.

Google Apps:

image

Cloud computing is where it’s at, or soon will be, according to the futurists. Personally, I think the jury is still out.

Google though, has tied its wagon to the concept of cloud computing, and  Google Apps reflects this direction. Using this collection of online (cloud based) applications you can plan (Calendar), stay in touch (Gmail), and collaborate (Docs). Since these are cloud based apps you can reach them from anywhere you have an Internet connection.

I should point out that Google Apps are available for business and education. Both are enhanced versions of the free personal version.

Note: Google will soon be releasing Google Wave, an additional online tool for real-time communication and collaboration. For more information on Wave, checkout Scoroncocolo TechPages.

Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus:

image

The version of the highly regarded Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus included in Google Pack, does include full scan and remove capabilities, scheduled scans, database updates, but only limited real-time protection from both spyware and viruses.

I’ve reviewed this application a number of times, and consider it an outstanding secondary scanner. However, I do not recommend that you use this restricted version as a primary defense against malware, because of its limited real-time protection .

Picasa:

image

Some might say that Picasa is the best free piece of photo managing and editing software you can find. Up to a point I agree. As a basic photo manager and viewer, it’s pretty terrific.

Bonus features include a full complement of editing tools, supplemented with the ability to create photo CDs, photo collages, screensavers, and posters. Not bad for a free application!

Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar:

image

If you’re looking for  a Browser that you can customize to your hearts content, then download Firefox. There are literally thousands of totally free ways to customize Firefox to meet all of your personal needs. The big advantage to Firefox, in my view, is the ability you have to customize this Browser with security add-ons that raise the security bar substantially.

P.S. Forget about the Google Toolbar.

Skype:

image

Skype has become my preferred method of contact. I use the free Skype video calling feature, dozens of times a day to speak with contacts worldwide.

In its basic form, Skype is a free communication package, using proprietary code, which allows users to make free computer to computer calls, including video calls, across the globe. As well, there are a bundle of additional features, that can be purchased at a low cost, which will expand the application’s functionality.

Google Talk:

image

Google Talk is a cool application that includes Instant messaging, PC-to-PC voice chat , the ability to send, receive and leave voicemails,  along with unlimited file transfers (no file size or bandwidth restrictions).

Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but I prefer single purpose applications, and I would choose Skype over Google Talk.

Google Earth 5:

image

I couldn’t say it better than Google so, “Google Earth lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean. You can explore rich geographical content, save your toured places, and share with others”.

This is truly an amazing piece of technology – I just never get tired of it!

The bad:

Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer:

image

I have seen machines with more than 20+ installed toolbars, and this type of nonsensical download is one of the reasons why. Another toolbar? Lord help us!

Google Desktop:

image

According to Google with desktop installed you can – “Find all your email, files, web history, and more. Get all your personalized info in one place with Sidebar”. So what could be wrong with that?

Well, if privacy and security is a concern – plenty. eSecurity Planet has a great article that exposes the major downside of installing this “spyware” on your computer. If you’re considering installing this program, I encourage you to checkout “Google Desktop: Next Big Thing or Dangerous Tool?”, first.

The ugly:

Adobe Reader:

image

Without a doubt, one of the most hacked pieces of  software – ever! That’s bad enough, but Adobe, for all intents and purposes, seems not to care. On top of that, this application is the very definition of “bloatware”.

Don’t even consider this program. Instead, choose one of a number of much faster, more streamlined free application such as Foxit Reader, for Firefox, or Sumatra PDF Viewer for Windows.

RealPlayer:

image

If you need a clunky, slow, ugly player, and you are the type of person who likes to be nagged constantly, then this application will give you what you want. If you think I’m being tough on this piece of crap, then read PC Mag’s “The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time”.

VLC Media Player, on the other hand, an open source cross platform application, is a long recognized superior performer that gives you frame-by-frame advancement, granular speed controls allowing for on-the-fly slower or faster playback, and live recording of streaming video.VLC offers support for a wide range of video and audio formats, including OGG, MP2, MP3, MP4, DivX, HD codecs like AES3, Raw Dirac, and even support for playing back zipped files.

Google Apps System requirements: Windows XP, Vista Win 7

Google Pack

Download at: Google

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

7 Comments

Filed under Cloud Computing Applications, Freeware, Google Chrome, Google Pack, Google Software, Image Editors, Multimedia Tools, Productivity Software, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, Windows Tips and Tools

PC Tools Free Antivirus – Is “Free” Worth It?

image You’ve met him; we’ve all met him. The cynical guy who is absolutely convinced that “nothing in life is free”, and he isn’t afraid to pass on his cynicism to you, and anyone else who will listen.

Frankly, when I hear this “the glass is half empty” approach to life, I automatically mark down the cynic’s  I.Q. by 20 points. Duh!

The Internet, for example, allows access to “free”, in a way that has changed our world. Want to learn a new language? It’s free. Want information on how to repair your car? It’s free. Want access to the largest reference library the world has ever known? It’s free. Want advice on how to repair your computer? It’s free. Want a free computer application? No problem.

Regular visitors to this site, are well aware that I am a devotee of both freeware and open source software – and with good reason.

While it is generally true that the free version of an application may not have all the bells and whistles of the paid version, assuming there is a paid version; overall functionality is rarely crippled. In particular, if you’re willing to forego a few nonessentials, a free security application will provide a decent level of protection, at no cost.

And that brings me to one of my favorite software developers – PC Tools.

Currently, on my home Windows 7 RC machine, I am running PC Tools Firewall Plus (free edition) ThreatFire (free edition), and Spyware Doctor (free edition) – this last one as a secondary malware scanner.

I’m always heartened by good corporate citizens like PC Tools (sorry cynical guy, but there are good corporate citizens), who offer free versions of their products to the Internet community, in an effort to keep all of us safer than we might otherwise be.

So, when I decided to test drive PC Tools Free AntiVirus, I was expecting to have the same great experience I have had with the various other free tools available from this security provider. Overall, I was reasonably satisfied.

PC Tools Free AntiVirus has a good reputation (shared by me), as an effective security application, based on it’s ability to detect, quarantine, and destroy Viruses, Trojans and Worms.

Having tested virtually all of the major antivirus applications, and updates, over the last several years, I’m comfortable recommending the free version of this application as a front line antivirus defender. In the time I have been testing PC Tools Free AntiVirus on my test bed systems, I have been satisfied with its performance.

This free antivirus program offers it’s comprehensive protection within an easy to use interface, and it should meet all of your requirements.

image

Quick facts:

Virus, worm, Trojan protection – Protects your PC as you are working, surfing and playing

Scan and Remove – Detects, quarantines, disinfects and destroys Viruses, Trojans and Worms

Smart Updates – Automatically checks for frequent updates against the latest threats

IntelliGuard Protection – IntelliGuard protects your computer against threats in real-time

– File Guard

– Email Guard

FREE. No catches, limitations or time-limits.

If you’re looking for a free antivirus application that’s easy to navigate, then PC Tools Free Edition 6 is worth considering.

For that cynical guy out there: The free version does not include High-speed updates, or dedicated 24/7 support.

System Requirements: Windows – Vista 32-bit, XP, 2000

Download at: PC Tools

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

11 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Antivirus Applications, Don't Get Hacked, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Internet Safety Tools, PC Tools, Safe Surfing, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

Free Antivirus – Download PC Tools Free Edition 6

I have to admit, PC Tools is one of my favorite software developers. Currently, on my Windows 7 RC machine, I am running PC Tools Firewall Plus (free edition – checkout tomorrows posts for a review of this application), ThreatFire (free edition), and Spyware Doctor (free edition) – this last one as a secondary malware scanner.

I think you can gather from this that I am a devotee of both freeware and open source software. No kidding, huh?

I’m always heartened by good corporate citizens like PC Tools (one of the best), who offer free versions of their outstanding products to the Internet community, in an effort to keep all of us safer than we might otherwise be.

So, when I decided to test drive PC Tools Free AntiVirus, I was expecting to have the same great experience I have had with the various other free tools available from this security provider. I was not disappointed.

PC Tools Free AntiVirus has an excellent reputation (shared by me), as a first class security application, based on it’s ability to detect, quarantine, disinfect and destroy Viruses, Trojans and Worms.

Having tested virtually all of the major antivirus applications, and updates, over the last several years, I’m comfortable recommending the free version of this application as a front line antivirus defender. In the time I have been testing PC Tools Free AntiVirus on my test bed systems, I have been very impressed with its performance.

This strong antivirus program offers all of it’s comprehensive protection within an easy to use interface and it should meet, and even exceed, all of your requirements.

image

Quick facts:

Virus, worm, Trojan protection – Protects your PC as you are working, surfing and playing

Scan and Remove – Detects, quarantines, disinfects and destroys Viruses, Trojans and Worms

Smart Updates – Automatically checks for frequent updates against the latest threats

IntelliGuard™ Protection – IntelliGuard™ protects your computer against threats in real-time

– File Guard

– Email Guard

FREE. No catches, limitations or time-limits.

If you’re looking for a free antivirus application that’s easy to navigate, and one that takes the worry out of updating the definition database, then PC Tools Free Edition 6 is worth considering.

System Requirements: Windows – Vista 32-bit, XP, 2000

Download at: PC Tools

16 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Antivirus Applications, Don't Get Hacked, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Safe Surfing, Software, System Security, trojans, Viruses, Windows Tips and Tools, worms