Tag Archives: text

Pick Out PDF Text And Reuse It With Free Nitro PDF

imageAs an active blogger, I get a pile of information sent my way from application developers and service providers  – including media reports, product news, reviewers guidelines, and so on – most of which is in PDF format. So my PDF application of choice, Nitro PDF (the free version), gets a real workout around here.

Most often, the material received can be filed away for later retrieval but, there are times when the information needs to be acted upon relatively quickly. And, that might mean I need to “cut and paste” from within a PDF. Constructing a “pull quote”, for inclusion in an article, is a good example.

Accessing content from within a PDF can often be a bit painful though – without the right tool. Sure, a user might have the option of converting a PDF file to a Word file for example (depending on the capabilities of the PDF reader), then working with the contents of the new Word file.

A better way:

Nitro PDF provides a terrific feature in the free version of PDF Reader Version 2 – the ability to copy data directly from within a PDF file, and paste it into a selected application – so, no more converting, saving, opening, and copying, to get to your objective. Nitro’s solution is basically “one click simple”.

The following screen captures illustrate a real world example in which this feature can be used to save time – always a consideration for those of us who have little of it to spare.

Culling data from OPSWAT’s latest quarterly market share report (shown open in Nitro PDF) for inclusion in a new article for later publication, is a snap.

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It’s simple a matter of selecting the text to be copied (additional text operatives are available) …

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and, pasting the selected text into the appropriate application. In this case, LibreOffice (an outstanding substitute for Microsoft Office, BTW).

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If working with PDF files is a task you get involved in, then Nitro PDF is an application you should consider adding to your toolbox.

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7 (32 bit  and 64 bit, Vista and Win 7).

Available languages: Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

Download at: Nitro PDF Reader

It’s not often that I feel comfortable rating a free application a 10 out of 10 – but, Nitro PDF meets my criteria in every way.

You can read a full review of this terrific free application here – NEW – Nitro PDF Reader Version 2 Launched Today (June 21, 2011).

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Blogging Tips, downloads, Free PDF Software, Freeware, MS Word Alternatives, Software, Timesaving Tips, Windows Tips and Tools

Catch Your Online Grammar, Spelling, and Style Mistakes, With After The Deadline

imageChurning out two blog posts every day is hard on the eyes – not to mention the back, the wrists – well you get the point. As a consequence – I sometimes find myself looking (with crossed eyes) at words running into words, gross misspellings (easy to correct), or improper word usage (sometimes, not so easy to correct). Your versus you’re, and its versus it’s, for example, can be particularly difficult to pick up when used incorrectly.

Here’s a good example of this – recently pointed out by a reader.

Comment:

“You’re friends won’t – other than to deny that they watch it – or, perhaps to decry it’s prevalence” You’re means You are – so “you are friends won’t” doesn’t make sense, use “Your friends” instead.

“It’s” always means “It is” – so “decry it is presence” doesn’t make sense; use “decry its presence” instead.

Not a big deal, you might be thinking. Maybe not – but as often as not, common errors, particularly punctuation errors, can change the meaning of what you meant to say. I’m sure you’ve seen this example – Let’s eat, Mother. versus – Let’s eat Mother.

I write all my blog articles in open source LibreOffice (with grammar checker turned on), and then copy the articles to Windows Live Writer prior to posting into WordPress.

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Despite an active grammar checker, proofreading, as time consuming as it can often be, is unavoidable. Still, I’ve learned that proofreading is no guarantee that the odd mistake will not slip through.

There is a partial solution (no technology is perfect), that can help you (and me), avoid the most common grammar mistakes, spelling errors (including contextual spelling errors), and style mistakes, in online interactions – including blog postings, emails (mistakes here can be deadly), Facebook, Twitter, etc.

After the Deadline – developed by the people behind WordPress – is an open source (free), language checker for the Web which is available as:

An add-on for Firefox.

An extension for Google Chrome.

A plugin for Windows Live Writer.

A plugin for self-hosted WordPress blogs.

An extension for OpenOffice.org Writer (still in Beta).

Following installation of After the Deadline on my system as a Firefox add-on, I found it to be reasonably accurate – but not perfect (more on this later). Nevertheless, I’ll keep it on my system – at least in the short term (for the second time).

Installation, in my case, was the usual automatic Firefox add-on install, followed by an easy Options set up as the following screen capture indicates.

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The following screen shots (click to expand) show spelling errors (an unrecognized word), and style recommendations – in a previous post.

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The type of recommendation shown in the screen shot directly above (change “terminate” to “end”, or “stop”), is the primary reason I deleted this add-on previously.

Consistently, higher level words were marked down as “complex expressions”. It may be popular to assume that “dumbing down” is in vogue, but not from where I’m sitting.

Fast facts:

Checks Spelling – Spell checker looks at context and uses artificial intelligence to make recommendations.

Detects Misused Words – Most spell checkers assume any word in their dictionary is correct regardless of context. This means all misused word errors go unnoticed.

Checks Style – Style checker has thousands of rules and uses context to choose the best suggestions.

Checks Grammar – The grammar checker in After the Deadline protects you from common writing errors. After the Deadline uses statistics to automatically find exceptions to its grammar rules, making it one of the smartest grammar checkers around.

Explains Errors – The misused word detector, grammar checker, and style checker explain the mistakes and suggestions to you. Click an error and choose the “Explain …” option.

Download at: After the Deadline

After the Deadline checks English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish text.

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Filed under Browser add-ons, Chrome Add-ons, downloads, Email, FaceBook, Firefox, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Google Chrome, Interconnectivity, Software, Twitter, Windows Tips and Tools, WordPress, Writing

SpringPublisher Free Version – Design And Output Business Cards And More

imageOne of the very first freeware applications that I remember downloading, when the Sun first rose on the Internet, was a business card design application. Now, here I am, many years later, reviewing for the first time exactly that – a business card design application.

SpringPublisher 2.1 is a freeware application (upgradeable to a pro version), which allows a user to design and print a Business Card, Flyer, Postcard, and Letterhead with ease. The learning curve is … well, there is no learning curve really. If you can use a word processor; you’re good to go.

The following screen shots represent a walkthrough in designing a business card with SpringPublisher. Clicking on any graphic will expand it to it’s original size. Since these shots were captured on a 22 inch screen, they are very large.

You can create a blank project or alternatively, you may choose to use the Template Library to create a project from a template. In the following example, I’ll work with the template option.

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For this walkthrough I’ve chosen the business card style indicated by the hand icon. I should point out, that the “style” you choose can be carried forward into additional projects, including – Letterhead, Postcard and Flyer.

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Expanding the following screen shot to its original size will give you an opportunity to carefully study the GUI. I think you’ll find the GUI uncomplicated, easy to follow, and self explanatory.

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Clicking on any element within the template opens an edit input box (text, image, shape). In the following example, I’ve just completed work in the address, telephone, email address, etc., edit box. You’ll notice, I’ve replaced the suggested graphic with something a little fancier.

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The completed business card is shown below.

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But then, since I’m into simple – I replaced the background color with plain white. Which meant, it was necessary to replace the “company name” color with black – very easy to do with the “select color” command.

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This simple walkthrough doesn’t begin to test the power built into this application. The “fast facts” will provide a better overall picture of what can be accomplished with a little creativity.

Fast facts:

Enables you to add images, texts, vector shapes, logos and arrange them as you like.

Provides various image effect: shadows, opacity, rotation, and more.

Allows you to download high quality templates from the template store.

Makes it easy for you to print your artworks either with your own printer or in professional print shops.

Generates high resolution artwork with a maximum output of 350 dpi.

System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Win 7

Download at: Developer’s site (SpringPublisher)

I haven’t used this type of application in years, so I’m not surprised to see that  SpringPublisher is a major step up from what I recall from back in the day. There are just enough tools and selections available  that customization possibilities are considerable – very impressive for a freeware application.

Along with your appearance (that great big smile  Smile ), your firm handshake (the dead fish handshake is a no-no), your business card can tell a tale. Make sure it’s the one you want to convey. SpringPublisher is a terrific little application which can help you experiment in developing a card which expresses who you are.

The professional version, with Template Store credits and high-quality output is available from the publisher at $23.95(USD).

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Filed under DeskTop Publishing, downloads, Freeware, Productivity Software, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

FOUR Free Alternatives To Adobe Reader Malware Magnet

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FLASH – A critical vulnerability (March 14, 2011), exists in Adobe Reader, as well as Flash Player and Acrobat. But don’t worry, Adobe will address this issue during the week of March 21, 2011. (OK, enough sarcasm).

If you’re shaking your head and wondering if you’ve heard this before – you can stop wondering. The date might be different; the vulnerability might be different, but you have heard this before – unfortunately, not once before, but often.

The graphics below (courtesy of Secunia – the developers of Secunia PSI), convincingly illustrate why Adobe Reader is considered one of the most hacked pieces of  software.

Month by Month (so far) in 2011
The “Month by Month” graph below shows the number of issued Secunia advisories affecting Adobe Reader 9.x on a month-by-month basis.

Month by Month in 2010
The “Month by Month” graph below shows the number of issued Secunia advisories affecting Adobe Reader 9.x on a month-by-month basis.

While it’s true that Adobe releases patches and updates to close security holes, they generally appear long after the vulnerabilities have been discovered and used to maximum advantage, by cyber crooks.

If you continue to use Adobe Reader, make sure you install the latest version. Users who continue running older versions of Adobe software (not uncommon), is a major element in cyber crooks successful manipulation of this  application.

Better yet – don’t even consider running Adobe Reader. Instead, choose one of a number of much faster, more streamlined free applications.

Nitro PDF Reader

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View, review, and create PDF files without compromise with the free solution PCWorld deemed “the most powerful free PDF reading and creation tool you can find…”

Fast facts:

Create PDF from 300+ file types

Comment, review, and collaborate on PDF files

100% compatibility with Adobe Acrobat and other common solutions

Fill, save, and submit PDF forms

Enable/disable JavaScript and control Web-based interactivity from PDF files

System requirements: Windows XP SP3, Vista SP2, Win 7 (x86 and x64)

Download at: Nitro PDF

Foxit Reader

Foxit Reader is a free PDF document viewer and printer. Small and fast, with a rich feature set.

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Fast facts:

Incredibly small: The download size of Foxit Reader is only 2.1 M which is a fraction of Acrobat Reader’s 20 M size.

Fast: When you run Foxit Reader, it launches instantly. You are not forced to view an annoying splash window displaying company logo, author names and so on.

Annotation tool: Have you ever wanted to annotate, or comment on, a PDF document. Foxit Reader allows you to draw graphics, highlight text, type text and make notes on a PDF document and then print out or save the annotated document.

Text converter: You can convert the whole PDF document into a simple text file.

Security and privacy: Foxit Reader doesn’t connect to the Internet without your permission. Other PDF readers often connect to the Internet in the background.

System requirements: Windows 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows 2000

Download at: Download.com

Cool PDF Reader

This viewer has many the features of Adobe Reader, but unlike Adobe Reader, Cool PDF Reader loads PDF files extremely fast. Conversion from PDF to text and graphics formats is included.

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Fast facts:

View and Print PDF

Convert PDF to BMP, JPG, GIF, PNG, WMF, EMF, EPS

Extract PDF to TXT

Support PDF files of all versions

Work with 68+ different languages

Zoom in/out and Rotate page displays

Slide show PDF document with full screen

Small in size, only 650KB

System requirements: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Server 2008, 2003, 2000. (32-bit and 64-bit support)

Download at: Download.com

Sumatra PDF Viewer

Sumatra has a minimalistic design, with its simplicity attained at the expense of extensive features. Sumatra takes up little disk space with an installed size of only 1.2MB, whereas Adobe Reader requires 335 MB of available disk space.

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Fast facts:

Sumatra PDF is a slim, free, and open-source.

Portable out of the box. Doesn’t write to registry.

Sumatra has a minimalistic design – simplicity has a higher priority than a lot of features.

It’s small and starts up very fast.

Hyperlinks embedded in PDF documents are supported.

Sumatra is multilingual, with 20 community-contributed translations.

System requirements: Windows 2000/XP/Vista

Download at: Download.com

Additional free PDF applications recommended by readers include:

Nuance PDF Reader

PDF-XChange Viewer

Both Foxit and Sumatra, are also available as portable versions from portableapps.com.

If PDF conversion is one of your considerations, then take a look at the free online conversion services offered by Nitro PDF Software – including Word to PDF, PDF to Word, HTML to PDF, and PDF to Excel.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Adobe, Application Vulnerabilities, cybercrime, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free PDF Software, Freeware, Internet Security Alerts, Portable Applications, Productivity Software, Software, USB, Windows Tips and Tools

After The Deadline Catches Grammar, Spelling, and Style Mistakes

imageHave you ever written a Blog comment, for example, and after you’ve clicked “Submit Comment”, had the distinct impression that what you just wrote could have been improved?

Maybe you threw in a few grammar errors, and since punctuation is not your thing, there were a couple of misplaced punctuation marks, as well. I know, I’ve made more than the odd mistake.

Not a big deal, right? Maybe not – but as often as not, common errors, particularly punctuation errors, can change the meaning of what you meant to say.

I’m sure you’ve seen this example – Let’s eat, Mother. versus – Let’s eat Mother.

There is at least a partial solution that can help you avoid the most common grammar mistakes, spelling errors (including contextual spelling errors), and style mistakes, in online interactions – including emails, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

After the Deadline, is an open source (free), language checker for the web which is available as:

an add-on for the Firefox web browser.

an extension for the Google Chrome web browser.

a bookmarklet for other browsers.

a plugin for self-hosted WordPress blogs.

an extension for OpenOffice.org Writer, a popular open-source word processor.

a plugin for bbPress forums.

Following installation of After the Deadline on my system as a Firefox add-on, I found it to be reasonably accurate – but not perfect. Nevertheless, I’ll keep it on my system – at least in the short term.

Installation in my case was the usual automatic Firefox add-on install, followed by an easy Options set up as the following screen captures indicate. You’ll notice in the second screen, that you have a wide range of proofreading options.

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Fast facts:

Checks Spelling – Spell checker looks at context and uses artificial intelligence to make recommendations.

Detects Misused Words – Most spell checkers assume any word in their dictionary is correct regardless of context. This means all misused word errors go unnoticed.

Checks Style – Style checker has thousands of rules and uses context to choose the best suggestions.

Checks Grammar – The grammar checker in After the Deadline protects you from common writing errors. After the Deadline uses statistics to automatically find exceptions to its grammar rules, making it one of the smartest grammar checkers around.

Explains Errors – The misused word detector, grammar checker, and style checker explain the mistakes and suggestions to you. Click an error and choose the “Explain …” option.

Download at: After the Deadline

After the Deadline checks English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish text.

After the Deadline has been developed by Automattic, the people behind WordPress, PollDaddy, and Akismet – to name just a few.

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.

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Filed under Browser add-ons, downloads, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Google Chrome, Interconnectivity, Open Source, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Bounce Adobe Reader Malware Magnet – Three Free Alternatives

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Without a doubt, Adobe Reader is one of the most hacked pieces of  software – ever. While it’s true that Adobe releases patches and updates to close security holes, they generally appear long after the vulnerabilities have been discovered, and then used to maximum advantage by cyber crooks.

On top of that, this application is the very definition of “bloatware” – slow to load, and packed with features the average user has no interest in.

If you continue to use Adobe Reader, make sure you are using the latest version. Better yet – don’t even consider this program. Instead, choose one of a number of much faster, more streamlined free application such as Foxit Reader, Cool PDF Reader, or Sumatra PDF Viewer.

Foxit Reader

Foxit Reader is a free PDF document viewer and printer. Small and fast, with a rich feature set.

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Fast facts:

Incredibly small: The download size of Foxit Reader is only 2.1 M which is a fraction of Acrobat Reader’s 20 M size.

Fast: When you run Foxit Reader, it launches instantly. You are not forced to view an annoying splash window displaying company logo, author names and so on.

Annotation tool: Have you ever wanted to annotate, or comment on, a PDF document. Foxit Reader allows you to draw graphics, highlight text, type text and make notes on a PDF document and then print out or save the annotated document.

Text converter: You can convert the whole PDF document into a simple text file.

Security and privacy: Foxit Reader doesn’t connect to the Internet without your permission. Other PDF readers often connect to the Internet in the background.

System requirements: Windows 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows 2000

Download at: Download.com

Cool PDF Reader

This viewer has many the features of Adobe Reader, but unlike Adobe Reader, Cool PDF Reader loads PDF files extremely fast. Conversion from PDF to text and graphics formats is included.

image

Fast facts:

View and Print PDF

Convert PDF to BMP, JPG, GIF, PNG, WMF, EMF, EPS

Extract PDF to TXT

Support PDF files of all versions

Work with 68+ different languages

Zoom in/out and Rotate page displays

Slide show PDF document with full screen

Small in size, only 650KB

System requirements: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Server 2008, 2003, 2000. (32-bit and 64-bit support)

Download at: Download.com

Sumatra PDF Viewer

Sumatra has a minimalistic design, with its simplicity attained at the expense of extensive features. Sumatra takes up little disk space with an installed size of only 1.2MB, whereas Adobe Reader requires 335 MB of available disk space.

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Fast facts:

Sumatra PDF is a slim, free, and open-source.

Portable out of the box. Doesn’t write to registry.

Sumatra has a minimalistic design – simplicity has a higher priority than a lot of features.

It’s small and starts up very fast.

Hyperlinks embedded in PDF documents are supported.

Sumatra is multilingual, with 20 community-contributed translations.

System requirements: Windows 2000/XP/Vista

Download at: Download.com

Checkout yesterday’s postUsing Adobe Reader? – Then Watch This Video Of Your Computer Being Penetrated.

Additional free PDF applications recommended by readers include:

Nuance PDF Reader

PDF-XChange Viewer

Update: Regular reader AE S. advises, that both Foxit and Sumatra, are also available as portable versions from portableapps.com. Thanks AE.

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.

Other readers mentioned by readers include (check the comments and post here).

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Filed under Adobe, Application Vulnerabilities, cybercrime, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free PDF Software, Freeware, Software, System Security, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Internet: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Guest writer Paul E. Lubic, Jr. takes a close up look at the Internet, and considers the impact of this potent tool in its totality. Or, as Paul puts it; the good; the bad; and the ugly side of  this world changer. See if you agree.

image The Internet is a phenomenon that has changed our world in many ways.  We communicate, conduct commerce, and obtain information globally…all good things.  However, it also has it’s dark side that we contend with too.

The Good

The use of the Internet has globalized our communication and information gathering by allowing us to email, blog, and message text with people and business partners in almost every country in the world. This has increased our productivity, and everyone’s ability to compete in the global economy.

Our schools are able to compare teaching techniques and strategy with schools in other countries, and help each other increase effectiveness.

Our businesses, large and small, have the ability to buy and sell products in countries previously not possible because of logistical restrictions.

Consumers have the ability to shop the world for goods and services previously not possible because of geographic boundaries.

Considering all the good things mentioned above, we tend to ask ourselves what we ever did without the Internet.  However, considering the “dark side” of the Internet, we wonder how long we’ll be able to  continue to use it.

The Bad

When discussing the Internets list of warts, the proliferation of pornography comes to mind first.  Despite the efforts of law enforcement around the world; you can access any genre of porn in photographs and video very easily.

Spam and Junk mail are next on my list of objectionable features on the Internet.  Most of it a nuisance, some of which is an insult to our sensibilities.  And we are inundated with a huge volume of malicious email that has doubled in the past year.

The Ugly

Another wart on the list is criminal activity in cyber space.  There are organized crime groups in many countries whose sole objective is to use the Internet to steal our money.

The cast of characters is constantly changing.  It started with the Russian Mafia, then they were joined by groups from Romania and other eastern block countries.  Next came the Koreans, Chinese and India.  And now I’m seeing a lot of activity… though on a smaller scale (they can only afford to buy some of the older, cheaper malware).

This proliferation of crime is fueled by the malware-for-sale market where a criminal can buy revenue-producing malware and rent part or all of a bot-net to run it on.

Finally, the proliferation of destructive viruses that harm our computers and cause us to lose our ability to use them until we remove the offenders.

These malicious programs are created by two categories of criminals: the hacker; a programmer who wants recognition among the growing herd of hackers…there are conventions where they meet to brag on their accomplishments and obtain new skills; and the other group is the criminal faction mentioned above.

All in all, I’d say that in spite of the list of dark side attributes, there is far more positive value we derive from the Internet.  However, the lesson we must take from this phenomenon is that we need to educate ourselves on the downside problems of the Internet so that we are able to enjoy the positive attributes safely and securely.

All in all, I’d say that in spite of the list of dark side attributes, there is far more positive value we derive from the Internet.  However, the lesson we must take from this phenomenon is that we need to educate ourselves on the downside problems of the Internet so that we are able to enjoy the positive attributes safely and securely. (All Rights Reserved.  Paul E. Lubic, Jr.)

Guest writer Paul E. Lubic, Jr. is a long time IT professional who’s held the positions of programmer, IT Security Manager and Chief Information Officer.  His interests lie in the IT security area, but he writes on all categories of technology.  Paul has a blog that caters to home computing.  Check him out at his Blog – Paul’s Home Computing.

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Filed under cybercrime, Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Networking, Personal Perspective, Windows Tips and Tools