What do you use your computer for? Long gone are the days when the computer was strictly a data processing tools. Today, the computer is an all-purpose media entertainment center. Its capabilities have gone far beyond keeping a catalog of all your movies and music – it’s even gone beyond playing all your favorite music and movies. These days, with the right tools you can splice, cut, record, edit, mix, create and publish your own media. And to accompany the new capabilities there’s a dizzying array of new software tools that can help you do everything from rip CDs to encode complete animations and videos. How do you find the best new software tools?

And you’ll find them easily. There’s no need to wade through page after page of directory structure. You can search all categories from the front page on the site, or click on a category to go directly to browsing that category. You’ll find video editors, audio editors, CD rippers, imaging software, video and audio converters, complete all-in-one packages and more. There are shareware listings, commercial listings and freeware listings – in short, just about everything you’d ever want to play with your media.

Each listing includes a capsule description and a full review as well as a side box that lists all the important details about the software – including both a staff and user rating, and the chance to enter your own rating. The categories include All-in-One, Media Players, CD Rippers, CD Burners, Converters, DVD software, Editors, ID3 Tag Editors, Mobile Phone Tools, Plugins, Radio and Broadcasting (plogcasting, anyone?), Recorders, Utilities and Voice and Text editors.

The reviews are comprehensive, listing all the capabilities of each software package and how well it performs each function. It’s a nice bonus that’s not often found on pure directories.

For software publishers, there are multiple opportunities for exposure. There’s an easy submission tool to add a free listing of you audio or video software, and many different ways to increase the exposure of your listing at very reasonable rates. You can opt for a featured listing, front page exposure, top level search results, footer text links and more.

Among the most popular software featured at audio-video-tools.com is Blaze Media Pro, the popular powerhouse all-in-one media tool that converts between all available video and audio formats .Rip, burn, convert, edit, capture, create, extract and combine files to create your own unique media.

I was a bit suprised to see that Google now offers it's own set of DNS servers for use as an alternative to your traditional DNS ISP based servers. Then again I'm not surpried, since this is only a natual progression in Google's business model and influence. The nice thing about Google DNS is the easy to remember ip addresses: 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4

Some fear a loss of privacy if one would use Google's DNS servers. I'm not sure if I'm ready to switch over at the moment, since I'm currently using OpenDNS as my primary and secondary DNS servers, which have been excellent. Time will tell if it would be beneficial to witch over to Google for DNS.

Google DNS

and of course let's not forget:

OpenDNS

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new_orkut_icon

new Orkut Many of you folks send e-mails to me asking for an invite to the new Orkut eversince I wrote about the New Orkut. Though the steps were very simple to get an invite easily on the New Orkut but many were unable to get one.

So, here’s some very good news for you folks.New Orkut 1

Well I am giving away the invites on a FCFS (First Comment First Serve) basis. You simply need to comment on this post below and also mail me at jasonblr .

So what are you waiting for folks!! Get started – the new Orkut is really worth the wait I feel.


NIS 2010 jsbi Regular readers of my blog know that I am not a fan of Norton products since the are sluggish and consume a lot of resources. But wait a sec – that was my opinion from ages. Shouldn’t they have improved now? recently when I got my Acer Aspire D250 netbook it came with McAfee installed but that was no good for me. Getting back to Norton, I wanted to really check out their new offerings and see how they have improved when you have many free and fast anti-virus solutions in the market like AVG, AVAST, etc.

NIS 2010Norton has a slew of 3 products lined up – Norton 360 (a complete suite that has all the solutions), Norton Internet Security 2010 (more targeted for Internet Users) and the plain vanilla Norton Antivirus.

I got myself Norton Internet Security 2010 popularly known as NIS, since it boasts to offer complete protection and yet not compromise on performance. It is one of the lightest protection solutions available currently and that makes it much more interesting. Norton Internet Security currently supports Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 – all 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Now this is where it got me interested since my home PC was loaded a few weeks back with Windows 7 64-bit – I was really out there looking for a next gen Anti-Virus for it.

Something that got me interested in Norton Internet Security 2010 was that it uses a new security model. This new security model helps NIS to attain unmatched levels of detection of new malwares. What the new security models does really is that it uses cloud-based intelligence to identify malware in an entirely new which is simply ages ahead of the traditional way of using signatures and behavior-based detection. The new security model also features a real-time reputation system that tracks files and applications and dozens of their attributes such as their age, download source, digital signature, and prevalence(more about this feature in detail later).

First of all – installing NIS was a breeze, except for the 60MB update that it needed to download off the internet.3But belive it or not - I had NIS working on PC in less than a minute flat!!! (excluding the 60MB download). This feat by Symantec is simply commendable.

The NIS 2010 interface is all re-vamped and so fresh to look at.11

It has 3 very distinct partitions – Computer, Network and Web. Well, these are the only there layers for which we need protection.

  • Computer : This has the anti-virus solution which has many new features like enabling of system scan when computer is idle. Also the idle time can be easily set by the user – now this is really a wow for a geek like me. Gone are the days when I had to schedule scans in my PC at mid-night and let my PC run through the night. Now, the scan happens even when I get off my comp to grab a cup of coffee (coz I have my idle time to be 3 mins – 3 mins is too much of an idle time for a geek like me if I am near the comp).
    It also features something called as SONAR 2 (Symantec Online Network for Advanced Response) which is a 2nd generation system that harnesses all elements of NIS 2010 to make really sophisticated and clever decisions about what to trust and what to convict as a threat or risk. Again, to do this it leverages data from the cloud, network communications and file attributes such as location on the PC, origin information, etc.
  • Network : NIS 2010 is not just an Anti-Virus but more of a complete security suit and this is further testimonial to it having a Smart Firewall which repels any possible attacks and also constantly monitors the traffic flow to determine any threat. Intrusion prevention is a key here and also has in-build e-mail protection that helps prevent your PC being used as a botnet by spammers.
  • Web : Finally the web. Norton IdentitySafe provides one-click log-ins and automatic form filling to prevent key loggers from stealing your information. Norton Safe Web adds additional protection when you search, shop, and surf the web to stop Internet threats before they can infect your PC. Safe surfing is always the key and this is easily achieved by NIS 2010.

Here’s a small test that I subjected Norton Internet Security 2010 to and it came out with flying colors. I had a exe which was infected with a trojan on my PC. I unassumingly like a lay-man double clicked the exe. This is what came up.15Went ahead and clicked on More Details and this popped up. 16

I was simply amazed at the kind of information that NIS 2010 threw back at me. It picks up information off the cloud and display some very vital statistics like how many people have used this exe and what kind of threat level it carries. This helps me to make a informative decision on whether to go ahead or not (Though it won’t allow me to execute the file – but even before that giving this kind of info is really handy).

Norton Internet Security also comes with a Task Manager – not the plain Windows kind of one, but this is a hybrid one which clearly lets you analyze your system performance over a period of time in time-slices. Important installations can be easily tracked and even tasks that have consumed more CPU or memory can be easily tracked down.18

Some of the advantages of using NIS 2010:

  • The fastest, lightest security suite you can buy for award-winning protection that won’t slow you down or get in your way.
  • Installs faster than any other security suite.
  • Boots faster than any other security suite.
  • Scans faster than any other security suite.
  • Uses less memory than any other security suite.
  • Doesn’t impact your PC’s speed when you copy or edit files, install applications or download files.

What I would like NIS to improve upon is provide a full fledged Widget for Vista / Windows 7 users rather than the signal light widget that we have now 12 this only lets us know how secure or vulnerable the PC is. But having an option for a full fledges widget would be a really nice add-on.

The pricing of Norton Internet Security 2010 in India is very competitive and also much below (or in-line) with other Anti-Virus vendors. The suggested retail price for Norton Internet Security 2010 is Rs 2,495 for a three PC license(great for a Home Network like mine), and Rs 1,450 for a single PC license. You can easily purchase it at the Symantec online store www.in.symantecstore.com


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