Friday, November 28, 2008

Traditional Technology Media changing

Last week I learned that 2 of my favorite tech magazines, PC Magazine, and PC World have made immense changes, either in their staffing, or in their formats. PC Magazine has announced it will be ending its print edition altogether. The January 2009 edition of PC Mag. will be their last. I have to admit I’m bummed. PC Magazine has been one of favorite magazines for years, from their reviews on hardware, to their “Ask Lloyd” and Ask Neil” advise pages, the magazine has been a great source of technology news for more than 2 decades. The good news is, that they aren’t cutting any staff. According to the PC MAgcast podcast, they’ve been transitioning for the last few years to a digital only model, which will still be available for subscription. I’m looking forward to seeing how this works out, I wish them good luck.

I wish I was as enthusiastic about the changes going on at PC World. Apparently in an attempt to remain solvent, they’ve cut several of their highest paid, and in my opinion, best writers. Steve Bass has been writing a fantastic tech advise column for over 14 years and was the first place I’d turn to when a new issue arrived. Steve was let go without much ceremony, last month, without even an opportunity to say goodbye to his loyal readers.  Apparently he will be writing an occasional piece, but his old column is gone. Fortunately for his fans, Steve has started his own newsletter  which is available for email delivery. I encourage everyone to visit his new site at and sign up and support this great tech writer.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Windows 7 is coming

For the last two weeks Microsoft has been unveiling their next operating system, Windows 7. Windows 7 will be built on the framework of Windows Vista and will strive to remain compatible with Vista drivers. That said people who avoided Vista for performance reasons may have reason to try Windows 7. One fact that gives hesitant XP users hope is that Steven Sinosky the Vice President running the Windows 7 team uses a Asus eeePC netbook computer as his daily machine running Windows 7. These netbooks are a relatively new class of computer with 7-10 inch screens and running either Intel Atom, or Via, mobile processors, at around 1.5 GHZ. The netbooks are usually shipped with either some form of Linux or Windows XP Home, operating systems largely because of their modest hardware requirements. If Window 7 will run well on a netbook than it should fly on more modern hardware commonly found on most new hardware.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More Security Applications

I recently blogged about my favorite security applications, I neglected to mention one of the best antispyware apps available at any cost. Malwarebytes is available in free or paid versions from here

Malwarebytes is fast, lightweight, and very effective. I use it along with Superantispyware on all my machines as well as a antivirus application to keep me safe online.

Another new recommendation I can make is for Norton Antivirus 2009. Symantec started to greatly improve the performance of their antivirus product with their 2008 version. I was happy after using it for around 8 months of trouble free use, I felt it was vastly superior to the 2004 version I had last used. That said, Norton 2008 still slowed my computer down significantly when it would run a scan. Recently Symantec offered users of Antivirus 2008 a free upgrade to their Norton Antivirus 2009. After the download I was immediately impressed with the improved performance. The scans can either run at full speed or in the background using far fewer system resources, (and taking a lot longer). Either way there seems to be far less of a performance hit, a CPU meter displayed on the side of the display window shows how few resources the new Norton 2009 Antivirus uses.

While I do recommend Norton Antivirus, I still don't recommend the Norton Security suites. I recently tried a version of Norton Internet Security that came preinstalled on a new laptop I bought for my son. It suffered from all the bloat and connectivity issues security suites always do. So I commend Symantec for the new antivirus, but I'll pass on the bloated, all in one suites.