JXHA6BJMFMX5 Com-Names | Product | Download Free Software | Game | Suite: November 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Final Shootout"

turrets, defense and soldiers and skillfully combining them you can repel any zombies' attack. Among the turrets there are such significant items as rocket and flame ones which cause even more destruction but also cost much more. In Final Shootout you can also use some defensive elements like sandbags to block the creatures, mines to blow them up and barrels of oil to make them freeze with terror. Don't forget to equip your soldiers who will do their best to help you defeat the dreadful creatures. And you always need money! That's why you'd better start with the tutorial where you meet zombies in the open space and can practice a lot. Be prepared that the other locations in Final Shootout will be more difficult to hold and the zombies' waves will be even more numerous. Pay attention to the first person mode where you can control the situation and shoot for one of the soldiers. Enjoy the game whenever you like absolutely for free right now!

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First Impressions: HTC One X+

will be arriving in the Indian market soon, with the market price pegged at just less than Rs. 40,000. We got a chance to check out this phone recently at an HTC event, and here are some observations that we took away.

product, download free software, suite
HTC One X+

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Zync Cloud Z5 Review

The Zync Cloud Z5 is a promising device as a budget 5-inch device. For Rs. 9,000, you are getting a smartphone-tablet hybrid that has decent performance as a phone and a multimedia device. If you want an IPS display, you can take a look at the iBall Andi 5c. But as of now there are only a few options available in the budget phablet category. If you are desperate to pick one up, you can go for either, depending on your budget. But we'd suggest that you hang on to your cash for a bit longer until this category gets populated with a few more options.
RELATED STORIES Zync launches dual-SIM 5-inch 'Cloud Z5' phablet for Rs. 9,490 Samsung Galaxy Note II launched in India at Rs. 39,990; Galaxy Camera unveiled
Related reviews: Apple iPhone 5 Review HTC Windows Phone 8X Review iBall Andi 5c Review Review Specifications & Performance The phablet as a device has found the sweet spot between a traditional smartphone and a 7-inch tablet. This space wasn’t always successful though. The Dell Streak was the pioneer in this category and the device really didn't take off.
In 2011, Samsung took a bold step and reignited the category with the launch of the Galaxy Note. The device did well enough not only to get Samsung to launch the Note II in 2012, but also paved the way for a phablet market.We have seen a few phablets try and take on the Note II. Some of the competition includes the LG Optimus Vu and the HTC Droid DNA (J Butterfly). The fact still remains that all of these devices are premium priced.But that didn't remain the case for long. Recently, many manufacturers have introduced low-cost phablet devices. We some hands on time with the iBall Andi 5c (read our review) and as a budget smartphone-tablet hybrid, the device performed reasonably. Today we have with us the Zync Cloud Z5, another entry in the budget phablet market. Is this device worth a glance, or are you better off going in for a premium phablet?Build and Design
It’s well said that to be the best, you need to first copy the best and this fact is very well visible with the Zync Cloud Z5. One look at the device and you would be forgiven for thinking that it is a Samsung Galaxy Note N7000 (the first generation Galaxy Note).On the face the Cloud Z5 has a 5-inch display that is quite big. It’s clear that Zync doesn't want you to mistake this device as the Galaxy Note as there is “Zync” clearly written below the earpiece. Below the display is the physical home button that also doubles up as the multitasking button. To the left of this button is the capacitive menu button and to the right rests a capacitive back button. Very Samsung Galaxy Note-like!

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Apple iPhone 5 Review

The Apple iPhone 5 is the best iPhone in the market, but that really isn't a surprise, is it? But then again, for a phone that costs Rs. 45,500, it better justify the expense. The iPhone 5 is an incremental update over the 4S, but the best phone incrementally improved is equal to a huge improvement. Yes, the nano-SIM is a pain to get, and the Maps are pretty much ruined. But what you get is exquisite build quality, blazing fast performance, very good battery life, one of the best cameras in a phone and a display that just makes using the iPhone a lot more fun. RELATED STORIES iOS 6.0.1 and 6.1 Beta released, jailbreak already established Airtel starts taking Apple iPhone 5 (16GB) pre-orders at Rs. 45,500 Related reviews: Zync Cloud Z5 Review HTC Windows Phone 8X Review iBall Andi 5c Review
Review Specifications & Performance We saw the leaked images. And then we saw more leaked images, and specifications. And then some more! When the iPhone 5 actually released, it was like the worst kept secret. The critics found that a point to pounce on. But that doesn’t take away from the simple fact – the iPhone 5 is an excellent evolution of what was already a very good product, the iPhone 4S.Build & Design
For all the hype about the bigger display and the taller form factor, the iPhone 5 feels brilliant in the hand. The basic design remains pretty much like the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S, with the slightly elongated form factor. We really mean it when we say that photographs don’t do it justice, and you need to hold it in all its real glory to understand all the excitement about it. The shape is exactly the same, just slimmer, with the four rounded edges and the metal strip running around the sides as a frame.

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SpiderOak 4.8.0000

SpiderOak combines online backup, secure file sync and easy sharing in a cloud based service. Desktop clients are available for Windows, Mac OS X and multiple Linux distributions. Several gigabyte of free storage become available after account creati...

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PeaZip 4.8.0

PeaZip is an open source file and archive manager. It's freeware and free of charge for any use.

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Google Drive 1.6.3837.2778

Google Drive is a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff. Whether you’re working with a friend on a joint research project, planning a wedding with your fiancé or tracking a budget with roommates, you can do it in ...

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PhraseExpress 9.0.146d

PhraseExpress, the Text Expander for Windows, helps you to speed up your typing tasks in any editor by saving lots of keystrokes. It is ideal for people who are continually typing the same things over and over, reducing the time spent typing and mini...

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Ares 2.1.9

Ares is a free open source file sharing program that enables users to share any digital file including images, audio, video, software, documents, etc.

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TopStyle contains powerful tools for building standards-compliant web sites.

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CCleaner 3.25.1872

CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system - allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Int...

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

PDFCreator 1.6.0

PDFCreator is a free tool to create PDF files from nearly any Windows application.

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Nokia Here for iOS Review

Nokia's rebranded Drive navigation app, Here, is here. But does it really do as well as other navigation apps out there? Is it even useful? Apple Maps is just flat out useless in most situations if you're trying to navigate in India. Those who updated to iOS 6 unknowingly, or by mistake have been at a loss of a good, simple and reliable navigation app that was free, until now. 

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Google can make Android's streaming experience better than Apple's AirPlay

Google can make Android's streaming experience better... 
First Impressions: Sony Vaio Duo 11 Top five Windows 8 phones compared State of the gaming industry - 
Vishal Gondal, DisneyUTV... // More Featuers Expert Opinions

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Angry Birds Star Wars HD Review

We've not enjoyed an Angry Birds game this much since the original. Angry Birds Space was supposed to be the "Big Hit" for Rovio, but frankly, it didn't impress us as much as we had hoped for. Angry Birds Star Wars on the other hand wouldn't let us put the iPad down till we've gone through all the 80 levels the app ships with. There's another episode on the way, based on Hoth from Empire Strikes Back which will be free. The bonus level where we get to play as C3PO and R2D2 are also very engaging. RELATED STORIES Rovio releases another trailer of Angry Birds Star Wars Rovio releases gameplay trailer of Angry Birds Star Wars Related reviews: Amazing Alex (for Android) Review Angry Birds Space Review Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition Review Review Finland, it seems, is developing a reputation for unleashing talent upon the world. This talent takes the world by storm, dominates for a while and then starts to lose its hold on the peoples’ hearts. No, we’re not talking of Nokia, but of Rovio.Rovio gained global fame almost overnight (well, not exactly) with their Angry Birds game, where the objective of the game was to flick birds across the screen using a slingshot to destroy the piggies’ stronghold. Apparently the birds are angry because the pigs have stolen their eggs, but we wonder if they’re actually angry because they’re constantly getting tossed around the screen by millions of people around the world. As time goes on though, the game didn’t evolve much, except for changing the scenery of where you were tossing the birds. They went from obscure locales to Rio and then finally onto Space, the final frontier. Sadly, as they made this journey, people started to lose interest, with sales of every subsequent game dipping noticeably. However, when Rovio announced Angry Birds Star Wars, there was a sort of an electrifying buzz going around the air. 

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Play Simpsons Games - Free Online Simpsons Games

Simpsons Games

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Collection of free Simpsons games, online Simpsons games and flash The Simpsons games. Play free Simpsons online games.

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"Jewel Match 3"

she should use the power of magic crystals! Here her adventure in the thrilling Jewel Match 3 game starts! Follow the instructions from the tutorial and match the flaring crystals on the game board. You are to turn all the golden tiles into ordinary ones and receive powerful energy for it. From time to time there appear some useful items to be collected - such as mana pots or magical seeds to be planted in the garden to recover the poor uncle's memory. Soon the girl will be able to release the dearest relative from the magical prison. The uncle who will be so grateful for her that teaches his niece some powerful spells. There are 3 modes in Jewel Match 3

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JBL OnBeat Venue Review

The OnBeat Venue flatters to deceive. We had huge hopes from this muscular looking dock. But the JBL sound in this case is surprisingly not the lifelike and wholesome one we have grown accustomed to. Good enough for a bedroom, with excellent clarity and adequate bass depth. But pump up the volume more than 50% and clarity gets compromised.

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SMPlayer 0.8.2

SMPlayer is a front-end for the mighty open source MPlayer. It comprises basic features like playing videos, DVDs, and VCDs to more advanced features like support for MPlayer filters and more.

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ICQ 8.0.5880

With ICQ Instant Messenger you can video/audio chat, send email, SMS and wireless-pager messages, as well as transfer files and URLs. If you're away from your personal computer you can still chat with friends and contacts, even where the ICQ client i...

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Recuva 1.44.778

Recuva (pronounced "recover") is a freeware Windows utility to restore files that have been accidentally deleted from your computer. This includes files emptied from the Recycle bin as well as images and other files that have been deleted by user err...

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Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+

Ad-Aware gives you comprehensive malware protection. With real-time monitoring, threat alerts, and automatic updates you can rest easy knowing that you are protected.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nokia Here available now on iOS

Related Stories: Google Maps app for iOS 6 in final testing... Built-in YouTube app dropped from iOS... iOS 6.0.1 and 6.1 Beta released, jailbreak...

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PlayStation Plus coming to the PS Vita today

TGS 2012: Sony announces super slim... Sony: 2.2 million Playstation Vita units... PS Vita to get PSOne games and PS3 to...

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HTC Windows Phone 8X Review

The new Windows Phone 8X is rather impressive. Straight out of the box, the 8X catches your eye with the rather striking design, which blends in the edges and the curves rather well. The polycarbonate build is just brilliant. Carrying on with the positives, the display is rather vivid and the camera does well in good lighting conditions. Now the negatives - battery life is barely good enough to last a day, and the phone's back tends to heat up if you are gaming. And there is no memory expansion slot, with built-in storage being just 16GB.

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Steampunk Odyssey

Submitted by OneOnlineUser39 on Wed, Puzzle GamesMouse Skill GamesPoint And Click Games
ObjectivesIn the puzzle adventure game your duty is to help Abraham Lincoln escape from the heavy industrialized environment he is in. Make use of the elements in each scene to pass. Help Abe to find a way out of the dark mechanical city. 

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Slime Quest

Submitted by OneOnlineUser39 on Wed, Adventure GamesArcade GamesPuzzle GamesPlatforms Games
ObjectivesFill yours and others stomach, collect the precious red gems, avoid dangers and get to the exit as quickly as possible. Begin your first quest as a slime to explore the new world full of sweet foods!

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Firefox 17 brings Facebook Messenger integration

Mozilla has released the latest version of its popular web browser, Firefox. This is version 17.0 by its own count. The update comes across all three platforms – Windows, Mac and Linux. The most important new feature is the introduction of the Social API, with the launch of Facebook Messenger. The new feature allows Facebook Messenger to sit as a persistent sidebar on your browser. Even though you may not open Facebook.com on any of the tabs, the sidebar will let you update status and receive and send chats as well photo tag and other notifications. However, there is a slightly longer path for activating the Messenger on Firefox 17. You need to first head to https://www.facebook.com/about/messenger-for-firefox and activate it from there.The Social API is not limited to Facebook Messenger in any way, and other social networks can build similar tools for use via the Social API.There are other changes that Mozilla has introduced with Firefox 17.0 browser version. First is the way any plug-in behaves, while playing back web content. An out of date plug-in will be automatically blocked from playing back any content, till the user either updates it or specifically requests the playback to continue. Also, Mozilla has dropped support for Mac OS X 10.5, popularly known as Leopard. Apple had dropped Safari support for Leopard sometime back, and Chrome followed that up with the latest update not supporting the legacy Apple operating system. With Mozilla joining the ranks, anyone on Leopard will need to look towards Opera to get the latest browser versions. The Firefox 17.0 also brings in various security updates and performance improvements. A complete detailed list of changes can be viewed hereThis update for the desktop ecosystem comes just a day after the Firefox for Android browser got a major update. With this version, even more smartphones are supported, and will now even work on some phones still running Android 2.2 (Froyo).

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Indiatimes Mail to permanently shut down on February 18, 2013

Related Stories: Google adds Earth support to Drive,... Gmail introduces new Compose mail box... Yahoo hires Google exec Henrique de...

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update for Galaxy S III suspended in India

Related Stories: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean may come soon... Samsung Galaxy S III to get Jelly Bean... Samsung announces impressive sales numbers...

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State of the gaming industry - Vishal Gondal, DisneyUTV Digital

Related Stories: Bethesda releases new screenshots for... Crytek unveils six minute Crysis 3 gameplay... Assassin's Creed III patch coming next...

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Microsoft gives away free 60-day trial of Office 2013 ProPlus

Related Stories: Microsoft eyes students with Office... Microsoft Office 2013 announced, Office... Airtel, Microsoft partner to provide...

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Telecom operators spar over text messages

Related Stories: 3G connectivity is almost here for you Telcos add 7.27 million new subscribers... Telcos allowed to share 2G spectrum;...

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Google allows users to link Google+ profile with YouTube channel

Related Stories: YouTube asks users to post real names... Google working on improved YouTube commenting... Google testing YouTube redesign; looks...

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Asus launches four new All-In-One PCs in India

Related Stories: Lenovo unveils new IdeaCentre Q190 and... IFA 2012: Dell unveils three Windows... HP launches new tilting, swivelling...

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Google India: 7 out of 10 tech shoppers know exact model before store visit

Related Stories: Google for Entrepreneurs: Google's new... India among top nations to Google search... Google testing YouTube redesign; looks...

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Parallels Desktop 8 Review

Design: PROS Brings compatibility for Mountain Lion and Windows 8Better battery performanceFaster booting up of Windows 8 through Parallels Desktop 8 CONS Running in Coherence Mode is a little confusing due to lack of Start MenuWindows 8 performance is generally slow as we noted in our observations and Cinebench and 3D Mark benchmarks Summary Parallels Desktop has provided the perfect solution to those who are adamant on owning a Mac, but also want to run Windows OS on it. While Bootcamp is a very good option, it is not best suited as it requires a constant reboot. Parallels Desktop 8 brings together the ability to run a whole buffet of operating systems together with Mountain Lion, without having to reboot the system over and over again. The new version is being touted as a faster and more efficient performer, especially with respect to Windows 8, so we got the software running on our MacBook Pro to find out whether it holds true to its word or not.

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LogMeIn Hamachi is a VPN service that easily sets up in 10 minutes, and enables secure remote access to your business network, anywhere there's an Internet connection.

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SUPER v2012 build 54

SUPER is an easy-to-use Multimedia Encoder and Player, requiring only one simple click.

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Rainlendar 2.11 Beta 126

Rainlendar is a customizable calendar that displays the current month. It is a very lightweight application that doesn't use much system resources or take much space on your desktop.

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XBMC Media Center 12.0 Beta 1

XBMC is an award winning media center application for Linux, Mac OS X, Windows and XBox. The ultimate hub for all your media, XBMC is easy to use, looks slick, and has a large helpful community. Try it now!

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Opera 12.11

A full-featured Internet browser, Opera includes pop-up blocking, tabbed browsing, integrated searches, and advanced functions like Opera's groundbreaking E-mail program, RSS Newsfeeds and IRC chat. And because we know that our users have different n...

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Monday, November 19, 2012

"Old Clockmaker's Riddle"

Over 50 levelsHuge number of puzzlesColorful graphics Absolutely FREE
System Requirements:
Windows /XP/Vista/7Processor 1.4 Ghz or better512 Mb RAMDirectX 9.0

Download Free Full Version Now - Old Clockmaker's Riddle

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"Crusaders of Space"

Features :
100 levelsOriginal music and soundPleasant design Absolutely FREE
System Requirements:
Windows /XP/Vista/7Processor 800 Mhz or better512 Mb RAMDirectX 8.1

Download Free Full Version Now - Crusaders of Space

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"Tabuleiro Medieval Deluxe"

Cool graphicsUser-friendly interfaceRelaxing music Absolutely FREE
System Requirements Windows /XP/Vista/7Processor 800 Mhz or better512 Mb RAMDirectX 8.1

Download Free Full Version Now - Tabuleiro Medieval Deluxe

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Play Puppet Games - Free Online Puppet Games

Puppet Games

Play Puppet Games.
Collection of free Puppet games, online Puppet games and flash Puppet games. Play free Puppet online games.

Play Puppet games for free.

Free Puppet games for kids, girls and boys.

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HTC Windows Phone 8X and Desire SV available online in India

Related Stories: HTC unveils two Windows Phone 8 devices... HTC Windows Phone 8X, 8S announced for... HTC launches Desire SV in India, priced... 

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Huawei Ascend W2 images leaked online

Related Stories: Microsoft signs up Gwen Stefani, Jay-Z... IDC: Android accounts for 3 of every... Spice partners with Huawei to offer... 

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MapmyIndia CarPad 5 Review

Without a shadow of doubt, the CarPad 5 is a huge improvement over the predecessor. The smaller form factor works wonders, particularly when it is secured in the windshield mount. Navigation quality and the maps are brilliant, and so is the battery life. Display should have been slightly less reflective, but at the moment, it will work well in sunlight with brightness upwards of 80%. We don't think how the call/phone features will appeal to anyone. However, this is an Android tablet essentially, and you have access to the Play Store too!

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Wuala (Colmar)

Have you ever emailed files to yourself or forgotten your memory stick on the go? Do you want to access your files from anywhere? Want to share documents, pictures or large media files with your friends or family? If you've answered one question wit...

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AIMP 3.20.1155

AIMP is a free audio player with support for large number of formats and playlists. It works with multiple playlists immediately, allows creation of bookmarks and also has a playback queue.

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SkyDrive Build 17.0.2003.1112

SkyDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage solution in response to Dropbox and other similar online services. The SkyDrive application integrates with your desktop and functions like any other folder on your PC or Mac. Files copied or moved to SkyDrive fo...

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ToDoList 6.5

ToDoList is a jack-of-all-trades organizer software that goes far beyond managing shopping lists. The tool allows to create short and precise task lists but also handles complex project flows. ToDoList presents tasks in a tree-view and visualizes the...

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DivX Play 9.0.0

DivX® 8 for Windows is a free download that provides everything you need to enjoy high-quality digital videos on your computer, including HD H.264 (.mkv) videos with AAC audio and videos created using all previous versions of DivX technology. You can...

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Dropbox 1.6.0

Dropbox is the easiest way to store, sync and share files online.

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Fences 2.01

Fences is a program that helps you organize your desktop, and can hide your icons when they're not in use. A "Fence", a term coined by this program, is an icon group on your desktop. Fences is an add-on to your desktop, not a replacement.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Play Table Tennis Games - Free Online Table Tennis Games

Table Tennis Games

Play Table Tennis Games.
Collection of free Table Tennis games, online Table Tennis games and flash Table Tennis games. Play free Table Tennis online games.

Play Table Tennis games for free.

Free Table Tennis games for kids, girls and boys.

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Play Chor Police Games - Free Online Chor Police Games

Chor Police Games

Play Chor Police Games.
Collection of free Chor Police games, online Chor Police games and flash Chor Police games. Play free Chor Police online games.

Play Chor Police games for free.

Free Chor Police games for kids, girls and boys.

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Play Terrorist Games - Free Online Terrorist Games

Terrorist Games

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Collection of free Terrorist games, online Terrorist games and flash Terrorist games. Play free Terrorist online games.

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Sponsored Links Play Terrorist Games

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Features 42 levels to exploreProfessional voiceoversAnimated characters Absolutely FREE System Requirements Windows /XP/Vista/7Processor 1 Ghz or better512 Mb RAMDirectX 9.0

Download Free Full Version Now - Exorcist

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iOS 4.3.3 Kills iPhone Tracking: Here's Proof

Backup. The file can be opened using the program SQLite Database Browser, which enables you to see all of the location data stored by the iPhone, including points of latitude and longitude for both cellular towers and wireless networks.

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

DmC demo coming to PSN and Xbox Live on November 21

Related Stories: Devil May Cry gets a new "naked" trailer PlayStation 3 DLC for Skyrim close:... Super Mario Galaxy 2.5 fan-made DLC... Promotion: Hot deals --

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Twitter now lets you share tweets via e-mail

Related Stories: Israel and Hamas open new warfront on... Twitter unintentionally resets passwords... TweetDeck v2.1 update brings in several... Promotion: Hot deals --

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BlackBerry 10: RIM not playing the number game for apps, focuses on quality

Related Stories: RIM offers premium BlackBerry paid apps... RIM previews BlackBerry 10 at BlackBerry... RIM denies reports of developer trouble Promotion: Hot deals --

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Google Maps app for iOS 6 in final testing stages: Report

Related Stories: Google Maps app for iOS not in development:... iOS 6.0.1 and 6.1 Beta released, jailbreak... Google updates its Search for iOS app... Promotion: Hot deals --

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Need for Speed: Most Wanted Review

Design: PROS Excellent graphicsFun gameplayA real sense of speedOne of the best arcade racing experiences of the year CONS Single-player needs some tweakingSlightly disappointing cop chases Summary Need For Speed: Most Wanted is not pretending to be something it isn't and Criterion has made sure that you are very aware of that. It is an arcade racer and an exceptional one at that, nothing else. The developers have done a superb job in polishing this title and making sure that the game is fun. It is a very polished game that looks gorgeous and plays well. Beware though, this game is a graphical powerhouse and unless your system is up to the challenge, you will be hard-pressed to get playable frame-rates from the game. There are very few games that can fulfil your need for speed the way this game does and is, quite surely, a must-play for any racing fanatic out there. RELATED STORIES NFS: Most Wanted drifts onto Android and iOS devices E3 2012: EA introduces Dead Space 3, Simcity Social, and Most Wanted reboot Related reviews: Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit - Slick rollercoaster

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Borderlands 2 Review

Design: PROS Exhaustive array of guns and lootFunny dialoguesEngaging locationsVery good multiplayer mode CONS Campaign is too short Summary Borderlands 2 has taken everything we love about the original game and made it even better, making some much needed changes to allow players to enjoy the game even more. It is one of the best games you'll play this year and is an experience that must not be missed at any cost. RELATED STORIES Gearbox updates Borderlands 2 to fix sabotage exploits on the Xbox 360 PC version of Borderlands 2 gets a mammoth patch Related reviews: Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition Review Letterpress for iOS Review F1 2012 Review Review Welcome back to Pandora! Borderlands 2 brings you back to your favourite planet to sink yourself in complete shootout mayhem once again. What’s the difference? This time it’s got more guns, more stuff to shoot at, more quests to complete and more of pretty much everything that you loved about the original game, and then some! You get the idea.

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Airtel offers African customers free incoming while roaming in South Asia

Related Stories: Airtel starts taking Apple iPhone 5... Delhi HC stays government order to end... India's GSM subscriber base drops by... Promotion: Hot deals --

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Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition Review

Design: PROS Gameplay is rock-solidOne of the hardest games you'll play this yearExcellent storyA very atmospheric gameExcellent sound effectsEpic boss battles CONS Xbox 360 controller (or similar controller) is a must. Keyboard/mouse control is awfulOne of the hardest games you'll play this yearIssues with graphics on PC (workaround available here Summary Dark Souls is not a game that will appeal to everyone. If you're used to having your hand held at every turn or just generally want to play a game to unwind, this is not for you. This is a game that demands your time and will stress your patience to its limits. With Dark Souls, From software has created one of the most compelling and atmospheric action RPGs ever and it is an experience that must not be missed. RELATED STORIES DmC demo coming to PSN and Xbox Live on November 21 Steve Wozniak to feature in iOS game: Woz with a Coz Related reviews: Borderlands 2 Review Letterpress for iOS Review F1 2012 Review Review Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition is one of the hardest games we’ve played in a long time. You need to be prepared to die and die again and again and again and again and again and you’ll still revel in it.It isn’t that this game has some sort of murderously intelligent AI or that it has an artificially jacked up difficulty level – the enemies re-spawn after every checkpoint (bonfires) and each enemy will always follow its own, but consistent, attack pattern.

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Want faster downloads and easier management of downloaded files? Then you need FlashGet.

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ZoneAlarm Free

ZoneAlarm Free Firewall blocks hackers from infiltrating your home PC by hiding your computer from unsolicited network traffic. By detecting and preventing intrusions, ZoneAlarm Free Firewall keeps your PC free from viruses that slow down performance...

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AntiVir Personal

Avira AntiVir Personal - FREE Antivirus is a reliable free antivirus solution, that constantly and rapidly scans your computer for malicious programs such as viruses, Trojans, backdoor programs, hoaxes, worms, dialers etc. Monitors every action execu...

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MediaMonkey is a music manager and jukebox for serious music collectors and iPod users. It catalogs your CDs, OGG, WMA, MPC, FLAC, APE, WAV and MP3 audio files. It offers an intelligent tag editor which looks up missing Album Art and track informatio...

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Thunderbird 17.0 Beta 3

Thunderbird is a great email client from the same people who brought you the Firefox browser.

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Foobar2000 1.1.17

foobar2000 is an advanced freeware audio player for the Windows platform. Some of the basic features include full unicode support, ReplayGain support and native support for several popular audio formats.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

NASA Moves to Secure Laptops After Breach

NASA this week informed staffers that a laptop containing their personally identifiable information was stolen from another employee's locked car.
As a result, the space agency is now working to encrypt all employee laptops that contain sensitive information.
The theft occurred on Oct. 31 and included a NASA laptop and official NASA documents issued to an employee who works at the space agency's Washington, D.C. headquarters.
"The laptop contained records of sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) for a large number of NASA employees, contractors, and others," according to a notice posted on spaceref.com. "Although the laptop was password protected, it did not have whole disk encryption software, which means the information on the laptop could be accessible to unauthorized individuals."
NASA did not reveal how many employees the theft might affect, but said it could take up to 60 days to notify all those involved. The agency said it is "thoroughly assessing and investigating the incident, and taking every possible action to mitigate the risk of harm or inconvenience to affected employees."
That includes partnering with ID Experts, a company that specializes in data breaches, to send letters to affected employees. They will have the option to protect their identities at no extra cost through ID Experts.
NASA warned employees not to give out personal information to people who claim - via phone or email - to be NASA staff. "NASA and ID Experts will not be contacting employees to ask for or confirm personal information," NASA said. "If you receive such a communication, please do not provide any personal information."
While this issue is sorted out, NASA has banned employees from removing laptops with sensitive information from its facilities unless whole disk encryption software is enabled or the sensitive files are individually encrypted. NASA's IT staff has been ordered to encrypt a large number of its laptops by Nov. 21 and to complete the process by Dec. 21. NASA ordered workers not to store any sensitive data on smartphones or other mobile devices.
NASA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This is not the first time NASA has lost a laptop with sensitive information. In February testimony before the House, Inspector General Paul Martin informed members of Congress that an unencrypted laptop was stolen from NASA in March 2011. It contained codes to control the International Space Station, and was just one of "5,408 computer security incidents [in 2010 and 2011] that resulted in the installation of malicious software on or unauthorized access to [NASA] systems," Martin said.

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NEC Unveils Facial-Recognition System to Identify Shoppers

The famous scene from Minority Report depicting a consumer walking into a Gap store and being instantly recognized, prompting the system to suggest new purchases based on that customer's purchase history, may have once seemed like an interesting movie fantasy, but it has now become reality. NEC has unveiled a new system in Japan that will allow stores to identify new and returning customers using facial recognition.
NEC's service, called NeoFace, was previewed recently at the C&C User Forum & iEXPO 2012 in Japan. NeoFace allows a retailer to use the system to analyze a shopper's face to determine approximate age, gender, and whether or not that shopper has been to the store before. Using a technique called Adaptive Region Mixed Matching, NeoFace can even identify shoppers regardless of random factors such as changing facial expressions, facial hair, or eyeglasses.
The system is so accurate that it passed a test conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), earning it the highest marks for high-volume identification matching. Although NeoFace is not yet a common tool for major retailers, the company says the system has already been deployed at Universal Studios Japan, assisting the company in its efforts to manage the arrivals and departures of the thousands of customers that visit the site on a daily basis.
"This service is mainly intended for retailers that have several stores," an NEC spokesperson said in an interview with Japan's DigInfo. "It provides retailers with customer attributes based on facial images. That information is helpful for sales strategies… Retailers can find out how many customers visit their stores at each time of day, and what customer's attributes are. This enables them to fine-tune their sales strategies. For example, the data could be used to run campaigns targeting men and women in their 20s."
For those concerned about the security of a store holding biometric data, NEC said that although the faces are captured by the system, the biometric data is encrypted, thus preventing it from being inadvertently disclosed to third parties. Despite the sophistication of NeoFace's technology, it is likely to become a staple in many stores, particularly because it is being offered at what some retailers will consider an affordable price: $880 per month.

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Adobe Forum Shut Down After Data Leak

A data breach forced Adobe to temporarily shut down one of its user forums earlier this week.
The Connectusers.com forum, where customers can discuss Adobe's Connect online conferencing service, was at the center of the attack, and is currently being investigated, according to Adobe.
The hacker, hailing from Egypt and hiding behind the alias ViruS_HimA, posted a file dump with more than 150,000 emails and passwords for Adobe employees, the U.S. Military, USAF, Google, and NASA.
"Adobe is a very big company but they don't really take care of them security issues," the hacker wrote in a message on Pastebin. "When someone report vulnerability to them, It take 5-7 days for the notification that they've received your report!! It even takes 3-4 months to patch the vulnerabilities!"
In a Wednesday blog post, Adobe Connect director Guillaume Privat confirmed that the site had been compromised "by an unauthorized third party," though no other Adobe services, including the actual Adobe Connect, were impacted.
Adobe customers were only a part of the hacker's larger leak, which included a screenshot of emails ending with adobe.com, .mil, and .gov, with the promise that the Egyptian hacker is "not looking to ruin Adobe['s] business."
Adobe took the Connectusers forum offline Tuesday evening, and is "working diligently to restore forum services as soon as possible," Privat said. Additionally, the company is in the process of resetting the passwords of those impacted by the hack, and will release instructions on how to set up new passwords once the forum is restored.
Adobe apologized for "the inconvenience this may cause to our forum members."
"Your security is of critical importance to us, and we appreciate your patience as we work towards restoring Connectusers.com forum services," Privat said.
ViruS_HimA may not be finished, though. The hacker warned that a Yahoo leak will be coming soon. "It gonna be very hot leak," the Pastebin document said.
Also this week, NASA revealed that a laptop with sensitive employee information was stolen from a worker's car. The agency is now moving to encrypt all employee machines.

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Move Over, Apple: Amazon Launches Mac Download Store

Today, Amazon launched the Mac Download Store. This new venue offers hundreds of software and games for Macs, and this directly challenges Apple's own Mac store.
Amazon's offerings undercut Apple's products with lower prices. A search in the Apple website for Microsoft Office Home & Student 2011 Family Pack will yield a $149.99 price. The same program is being offered on the Amazon page for $115.00 for immediate download. Apple will ship the program to you.
The Amazon page conveniently separates the software and video games. A click on software yields 201 results, and video games will yield 51 results. In offering these products digitally, Amazon removes the often cumbersome physical aspect of software and video game installation, and there are no CDs to keep track of. Additionally, as with everything digital on Amazon, all purchases are backed up on their servers which means they can be downloaded again at no additional cost, should the need arise.
Amazon has a history of combating existing markets. March saw the introduction of Amazon's Android App Store which has offered discounted games and apps, much to the dismay of the Android Market.
Amazon also faced a lawsuit from Apple earlier this year over the "App Store" moniker. Apple has claimed that it had rights to "App Store" nomenclature, but Amazon countered that it was not doing anything wrong because the name is very generic.
This Mac venture is a bold move on Amazon's part, and time will tell how Apple will respond. Certainly, the Cupertino Kingdom is thoroughly unenthused about this recent development.

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Windows MultiPoint Server 2011

One of the more interesting products displayed at this year's Microsoft TechEd was . MultiPoint server allows multiple users to share one computer at the same time. This is achieved by connecting workstations and thin clients on a LAN via the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). Hardware used to connect to a MultiPoint server can include traditional thin clients like products by Wyse, multiport graphics cards, USB Zero clients and repurposed workstations. There are several economic and admistrative benefits for deploying multipoint client for several users to share over the traditional "one computer to one user" common deployment. Think of large institutions like schools, for example.
MultiPoint Server 2011 has been recently released to manufacturing and includes several new features and upgrades to MultiPoint Server 2010. Desktop Orchestration is a new administration feature. It gives admins a thumbnail view over all MultiPoint desktops in a network. With it, administrators can instantly block a station, close or open a stations's applications, project one station to another and limit website browsing. Software integrators have new capabilities as well with MultiPoint Manager extensibility. They can add new tabs or sub-tabs to the MultiPoint Manager interface and create new controls. MultiPoint Server has a common SDK with both Windows Small Business Server 2011 and Windows Home Server 2011 and is built on the Windows Sever 2008 RS SP1 platform.
Other key features include a Windows 7 desktop experience at each station, multiple language support, private USB and unique IP addresses for each station.
MultiPoint Server comes in two editions: Standard and Premium. Standard gives up to ten simultaneous station connections and Premium, by default, gives 20. Premium also gives the ability to join a domain plus support for Hyper-V. The Standard edition is priced at $330 while the Premium is $817. CALS—which are licenses for the station—are $139 but academic and charity organizations can purchase them for $29.

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Top Google Search Tricks

While the search-engine competition is the hottest it's been since the early days (Remember Alta Vista and Hotbot?), Google remains king and is, arguably, as great as ever.
You don't become synonymous with the term "Internet search" by resting on your laurels, even if some pundits anecdotally believe the quality of Google's search results are declining as the company focuses on its other services.
Nevertheless, you're still using Google for search, right? And do you think you're using it to the best of your—and its—search abilities? Randomly typing in a word or phrase is good way to search. It's even better if you know to put the phrase in quotation marks, so Google will search for the exact term. But there's so much more you can do. Google has spent over a decade fine-tuning crafty tricks to help you search more efficiently.
With these ten tips, you'll be able to dazzle your friends by finding the most obscure information, long lost data, and that maddening bit of trivia no one else can score. Even just everyday information, like what time it is, becomes a power tool in Google search. To complete your search skills tutorial, we'll also show you how to rub your new mutant super-search ability in the faces of those around you.
The Best Google Search Tricks

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Ballmer: Office 365 to Launch in June

Speaking at the Confederation of Indian Industry Cloud Summit last Thursday, Steve Ballmer revealed that Microsoft's Office 365 cloud service will launch in June.
While there is still no firm official launch date from Microsoft, Ballmer said, "We're pushing hard in the productivity space. We'll launch our Office 365 cloud service, which gives you Lync and Exchange and SharePoint and Office and more as a subscribable service that comes from the cloud. That launches in the month of June."
Ballmer also spoke about Skype's position in Microsoft's cloud services. "...if about 200 million people who use Skype today to be able to talk to people at work and vice versa [you have to] be able to count on integration with your corporate systems when you're working inside the enterprise, to count on the security inside the enterprise, but then to be able to reach out in some of the same kinds of scenarios with your customers across Skype."
He stated that Microsoft has done a lot of work on cloud infrastructure particularly with Windows Azure and SQL Azure in the public cloud. He also spoke on the concerns of businesses with the cloud, "Many companies are saying, I can't go to the public cloud exactly yet or I can't go for all of my applications; we have too much concern about privacy and security and reliability." He addressed those concerns by pointing out the advantages of low-cost management and ease of deploying applications in the cloud back to the enterprise datacenter.
Ballmer reinforced Microsoft's focus on cloud computing. "This cloud computing phenomenon will drive growth, it will enable businesses to use IT more productively, and it will enable growth in the IT sector."
PCMag contacted Microsoft representatives to confirm the launch date of Office 365. So far there has been no comment, but representatives promised to look into it. This article will be updated with any new information.

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Survey Finds Cloud Computing Has Matured, But It Can Be a Pain

74 percent of enterprises are using cloud computing; a 25 percent growth since Avanade's September 2009 survey. Of organizations yet to adopt cloud services, three-quarters say it's in future plans.
60 percent of companies say cloud computing is a top IT priority for next year. The sentiment is even higher among C-level executives with 75 percent reporting cloud computing as a top priority.
43 percent of companies surveyed use private cloud services.
The United States has seen steady cloud computing adoption rates with a 19 percent increase since a survey conducted in 2009. The highest cloud adoption rates among those surveyed were in Italy, Canada, France, Germany, and Australia, respectively.
The survey also revealed cloud growing pains. One in five executives reports that it's impossible to manage all of the disparate cloud services within their organizations. About 60 percent are worried about unmanaged cloud sprawl.
The concerns about managing cloud services, especially employee access to public cloud services is well-founded. One in five respondents said they have personally purchased a cloud service without the IT department's knowledge. The reasons given were that many thought it takes too long to go through IT and that it's easier to provision cloud services themselves. About 27 percent say their company's cloud policy actually prohibits the cloud services they want to use.
While 60 percent of these companies do have corporate policies in place to prohibit such actions, those surveyed say there is no real deterrent for purchasing cloud services against policy guidelines. 29 percent reported there were no ramifications whatsoever and 48 percent say it is little more than a warning.

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BlackBerry 10 set for January release; phones will hit stores in February

After a lot of speculation regarding the dates, Research in Motion (RIM) has finally come out and confirmed that January 30, 2013 is when the company will officially release the BlackBerry 10 operating system. The same event will see the unveiling of the two smartphones as well, codenamed BlackBerry London and BlackBerry Nevada. We have already seen the two devices in a number of leaks recently. The release of the Blackberry 10 OS has been delayed quite a bit, and this will be the first major hardware and software announcement since the BlackBerry OS 7 smartphone range came out in late 2011.RIM is confident that the phones unveiled on 30th January will be available in stores within the next 30 days, and that includes the network tie-ups in certain markets. The handset codenamed London (also known as the L-series) is a full touchscreen phone, while the Nevada (also known as the N-series) sports a touchscreen plus QWERTY keypad combo, but does away with the optical trackpad considering the fact that the BB10 OS is meant for the touchscreen environment.In related developments, RIM is confident that the government customers in the U.S. will lead the BlackBerry 10 upgrade wave. RIM currently has more than 1 million government customers in the U.S., and about 400,000 customers got the OS 7 upgrades last year. The company’s BB10 devices were recently awarded the FIPS certification, giving them U.S. government security clearance for the collection, storage, transfer, sharing and dissemination of sensitive information.We believe that the BlackBerry 10 operating system and smartphones are the very last chance for RIM to survive in the smartphone business. Based on the kind of performance and multi-tasking capabilities we saw in the PlayBook OS (which is what the BlackBerry 10 is built upon, step by step), we expect a lot of good things from the new OS. Also, the leaked information about the London and Nevada handsets indicate that RIM’s smartphones will now match the rivals spec for spec, something they had not done till now. We are fairly confident that RIM has used the time well to engage developers, because the app ecosystem needs to be in place at the time of the launch itself, rather than promises of more applications later.

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Citrix Co-Founder Launches VirtualWorks to Combat Data Sprawl

Citrix co-founder and software industry veteran, Edward Iacobucci, along with a seasoned team of executives, have just launched VirtualWorks Group.
The company has developed an innovative enterprise framework, the Virtual Index Architecture (VIA). VIA works by indexing all types of data virtualizing the content amassed by companies. This is to enable employees to securely and quickly retrieve files from any application, location, or device—whether that data is structured, unstructured, resides in the cloud, or is hosted locally. Users are presented with a real-time image of relevant content from across the entirety of the enterprise.
VIA is a pre-integrated, plug-and-play framework that leaves data where it lives with no need for costly system integrations. A huge potential benefit is to increase employee productivity and provide deeper information insight. Uses for it include reporting, auditing, search, or creating new applications based upon a common index.
Engineered to handle both static and dynamic data, VIA is an extensible framework. It works seamlessly with any SQL-based application through Cross-Indexers that plug into the framework with no custom integration required. It's been designed to make it fast and easy for developers to create new Index-Enabled Applications that optimize the value of information for organizations.
"The exponential growth of data is only matched by its value to the enterprise," said Iacobucci, chairman and CEO of VirtualWorks. "With the rise of the mobile workforce, new digital media channels and a ten-fold growth of data in the last five years, organizations of all sizes are overwhelmed by data sprawl. It's clear that a radical new approach is required. Our new VIA framework is radical in that its non-disruptive: it doesn't require end-user or organizational changes or custom system integration efforts. VIA indexes the entire information stack, wherever it lives, to create more productive, nimble and competitive organizations."
VirtualWorks is backed by private and institutional investors. The company raised $8 million in first-round funding, which is being used as operating capital to execute on the company's vision and strategy. The company's technology is currently being used by more than 300 private and public sector organizations in Norway, Sweden, and the United States.

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Windows boss Steven Sinofsky out of Microsoft

Barely two weeks after playing a prominent role in Microsoft's launch of Windows 8 and the Surface tablet, Redmond veteran Steven Sinofsky is out as head of the Windows Division, effective immediately. Sinofsky, who led development and marketing of Microsoft's flagship product for more than three years, joined the company as a software design engineer in July 1989. His departure, announced late Monday, was abrupt and took the tech and business worlds by surprise, with All Things D likening the suddenness of the news to Apple's ouster of iOS chief Scott Forstall late last month.The tech site cited unnamed sources as saying that the Microsoft executive's departure "came amid growing tension between Sinofsky and other top executives." "Sinofsky, though seen as highly talented, was viewed at the top levels as not the kind of team player that the company was looking for," according to All Things D's Ina Fried.Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer addressed Sinofsky's departure in a company statement, describing the move as a "leadership change" without explaining why such a prominent and out-front executive was leaving the company so close to the roll out of its biggest new product in years."I am grateful for the many years of work that Steven has contributed to the company. The products and services we have delivered to the market in the past few months mark the launch of a new era at Microsoft," Ballmer said."We've built an incredible foundation with new releases of Microsoft Office, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Microsoft Surface, Windows Server 2012, and 'Halo 4,' and great integration of services such as Bing, Skype, and Xbox across all our products. To continue this success it is imperative that we continue to drive alignment across all Microsoft teams, and have more integrated and rapid development cycles for our offerings."Sinofsky took over the Windows Division in July 2009 after more than a decade contributing to and leading the development of Microsoft's Office products. He was also heavily involved in recruiting talent to Redmond over the years."It is impossible to count the blessings I have received over my years at Microsoft. I am humbled by the professionalism and generosity of everyone I have had the good fortune to work with at this awesome company," Sinofsky said in a statement.Julie Larson-Green has been promoted to lead Windows software and hardware engineering, while chief financial officer and chief marketing officer Tami Reller will lead the business side of the Windows operation while retaining her current positions at the company, Microsoft said."Leading Windows engineering is an incredible challenge and opportunity, and as I looked at the technical and business skills required to continue our Windows trajectory—great communication skills, a proven ability to work across product groups, strong design, deep technical expertise, and a history of anticipating and meeting customer needs—it was clear to me that Julie is the best possible person for this job, and I'm excited to have her in this role," Ballmer said of Larson-Green's new role. 

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Netgear N750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router (WNDR4000)

Pros Record-fast throughput at the 5 GHz band. Multi-OS support. Stress-free setup. Has USB port for NAS functionality Cons USB support is limited only to storage devices. Lacks robust NAS capabilities. Bottom Line Netgear's N750 is a throughput thoroughbred in the 5 GHz band. Performance at the 2.4 GHz band is slightly above average with other top 2.4 GHz routers on the market. Advanced features and easy setup makes the N750 a router to easily recommend, despite anemic NAS capabilities.

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Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 10 preview for Windows 7

Microsoft has officially released Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7. The preview build of the IE10 browser can be downloaded today, with the final build launching some time next year. Those interested in giving IE10 for Windows 7 a try can download the preview here.On the official IE blog, Rob Mauceri, Group Program Manager, Internet Explorer says, “IE10 on Windows 7 has the same standards based platform for developers to target as IE10 on Windows 8. We built an entirely new browser with Windows 8, with more performance and developer capabilities. IE10 brings improved real-world site performance and additional standards support to Windows 7 that Web developers have been asking for. We look forward to getting your feedback on IE10 on Windows 7, and will provide another update when the preview is available.”IE10 was originally designed for Windows 8 with touchscreens and tablets in mind and it will be interesting to see how the new browser translates on Windows 7.IE10 claims to bring with it a bunch of new features such as a faster and more fluid browsing experience, more interpolated HTML5 support, rich visual effects, enhanced web programming model, privacy with “Do not track” on by default and an overall smoother browsing experience. You can read the complete features of the IE10 on the official Microsoft IE blog here.So, will you download the new browser for Windows 7? Do let us know what you think of its performance and interface, in the comments section below.

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Tip: Give Your Browser a Windows 8 Look

You'll have to wait a year for the real thing, but in the meantime, if you want a dash of Windows 8, here's a little sustenance for you. A clever Czech Web programmer/designer named Ľubomír Krupa has come up with a way to give your browser the tiled Windows 8 Metro UI look. Of course, this tip won't give you the full Windows 8 tile functionality—it won't update the current weather or stock prices in tiles, but if you crave the Metro look, it's a start. Krupa offers the customization under the MIT license, which means it's free to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell, as long as the copyright info stays intact.
To start your move toward a Windows 8 look, you first need to download the zipped folder contents used by the start page. You can get it from this DeviantArt download page. Next, just unzip all the contents of the download archive to a folder under your My Computer folder, say to Downloads/Win8Start.
Next, copy the full pathname by clicking in the Windows Explorer address bar: on my PC, this was


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Google Nexus 4 goes out of stock in a matter of minutes

Google’s fourth flagship smartphone, the Nexus 4 went out of stock in a matter of minutes after being launched on the Google Play store.
Google opened its online hardware Play store to sell the Nexus 4 in select countries like the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Germany, and the smartphone was out of stock in a matter of minutes after its launch yesterday.
The 16GB Nexus 4 was sold out in a mere 22 minutes in the Australian Google Play store, whereas the 8GB variant of the smartphone barely lasted for 2 hours. The 32GB Nexus 10 tablet too went out of stock in about five hours where as the 16GB variant is still available.
Countries such as the UK, France, Germany, and Spain also saw similar demand for the smartphone where it was sold out in 35 minutes.
The US and Canada got the device last on Tuesday, and the Nexus 4 was sold out in 20 minutes of its availability.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Headlines Predict Death of MS-Office

I don't know if you've noticed, but Microsoft Office is pretty tired. All of its elements are old and boring. PowerPoint, except for the addition of a few templates, has never fulfilled its promise. Microsoft never seriously jazzed it up and a PowerPoint presentation from a decade ago barely differs from a PowerPoint presentation made today.
The rest of the suite elements are just as bad, if not worse. The two Microsoft Word breakthroughs were Spell Check and Grammar Check. Both could use improvement, but Microsoft just sits back. If you think about it, what could it do?
I'm guessing with the right creative team, many innovations could be considered, tested, and implemented. But Microsoft is the master of coasting while riding a winner. Unfortunately, the copycat suites have mostly caught up in both power and functionality.
A review of current headlines tells a tale. It shows that most of the Microsoft action, insofar as news coverage, targets the possibility that Phone 7 uncover a treasure trove. Look at today's headline mix:

• “Will Windows 8 Run Windows Phone 7 Apps?" by Gizmodo 
• "Six major Windows 8 features for small business" by PCWorld 
• "Microsoft To Snatch 20% Smartphone Market Share By 2015" by Forbes.com 
• "Final Windows Phone 7.5 ROM for HTC Mozart leaked" by ZDNet 
• "Stop snickering. Houston's Microsoft Store will surprise you." by Houston Chronicle 
• "Microsoft Stock Has Upside To $28 But Office Franchise Is A Drag" by Forbes.com

Do you notice any sort of trend?
One thing caught my attention in that Forbes.com article. A brief anecdote recounts Microsoft’s sale of the entire Office Suite in China for $29 because of the prevalence of piracy in China—probably the most under-told story in the tech sector. It does two things: First, it reveals that China has a huge productivity advantage over the U.S. if it can get Office for $29. Second, it sends the message that entire nations should pirate Microsoft software because then they will get a better deal. What kind of message is that? But I digress.
Microsoft is trying to break into new markets with the Phone 7 product, but cannot avoid the fact that Office, along with Windows, is the huge cash cow that keeps the company running.
It was probably in the mid-1990s that I first heard that Microsoft knew Windows and Office could not support the company forever. It had to find some other way to make money. It was as if the company had zero confidence that it could continue to make money with a mainstay product. It's like Maytag saying that it could not make money forever with washing machines.
I heard this from everyone. The notion was apparently floated at some conference and taken as gospel by the parrots in the business. At about this time, a similar notion arose, which sent the message to Intel that the microprocessor market was dying; the company would need to invest in technologies like Wi-Fi. Intel spent far too much effort working on Wi-Fi and Wi-Max after everyone “knew” that the company would flatline if it persisted with microprocessors. While Intel chased its tail designing dead-end chips, it failed to notice the low-power trend and that the ARM designs were moving in on its territory.
The ARM chips licensed by so many companies, is a microprocessor design Intel should have been using.
So Microsoft, for close to 20 years, has been told how it’s driving down a dead-end road and probably believes it. All the while, it should have been enhancing Office Suite with features other than a new interface. If the company resisted the fads evolving from groupthink it would have a much more advanced system than it now sells. Worse, it would recognize that the cloud is no better than shrink-wrap for such a suite.
Right now, MS Office is vulnerable to any number of clone companies. One breakthrough or major simplification and Office will indeed be toast. But, if Microsoft had made serious and substantial improvements all along the way, it might stand a chance today.

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Halo 4 grosses more than $220 million at launch; will it beat Black Ops II?

The end if the year holiday season is when we see the launch of the best games in the business of gaming. This year, in November, we have seen two of the most anticipated first person shooters hit store shelves – Halo 4 and Call of Duty Black Ops II (which launched yesterday).Halo 4 has already set a record by grossing a whopping $220 million in the first 24 hours of sale globally. In its first week, Halo 4 is on its way to cross the $300 million mark making it a significant milestone in the world of gaming.But earning the big dollars isn’t something new to the Halo franchise. Halo: Reach, the game launched prior to Halo 4 and the last to be developed by the developer that started it all, Bungie, grossed $200 million on launch day in September, 2010.The baton of the Halo franchise shifted from developer Bungie to 343 Industries whose first venture is the beginning of a new trilogy starting with Halo 4. We have had some hands on time with the game and we can assure you, it doesn't disappoint. The game indeed lives up to its reputation. Both the single player campaign and multiplayer will keep you coming back for more. Check out our first impressions of the game, here.The only disadvantage, in terms of money making for the publisher, is that Halo is an Xbox 360 exclusive title and hence will cater only to the audience that owns the console.Now, moving on to the other big gun in the first person shooter genre, Call of Duty Black Ops II. Its predecessor, Call of Duty Black Ops was met with rave reviews but the formula stuck close to the tried and tested. That wasn't necessarily a bad thing since the franchise is a real big cash cow for publisher Activision and immensely popular among gamers.Black Ops II however has tried something different. To start with the game has received rave reviews online from a variety of gaming websites. Black Ops II is set in a future US war scenario, and the campaign along with the multiplayer modes for which the franchise has been made famous has received great reviews.Since its past few iterations, the Call of Duty franchise has been criticised for its single player mode, but that seems to have changed with Black Ops II. The single player campaign is a refreshing change from the past iteration and the biggest improvement is the ability to make decisions that alter the course of the game including decisions that involve who lives and who dies.The biggest reason why we think that Call of Duty Black Ops II will surpass Halo 4 in sales is because the game is a multi-platform offering, apart from being awesome. The game will be available on the Xbox 360, PC, PS3, Wii U. A PS Vita version of the game called call of Duty Black Ops Declassified is all set to make its debut on the handheld as well. As yet, no sales figures have been released.So tell us, which of the two games will you play? Or will you get your hands on both? Which franchise do you think is better, Call of Duty or Halo?

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Build a $1,500 Gaming PC

As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, $1,000 is our favorite place to begin building a gaming PC. (Though, as we showed in the weeks before that, you can still put together fine, 3D-focused computers for $500 or $750.) But it's not a good place to stop if you don't have to. With many things in the technology world, the more money you can invest, the more impressive the final product will be—and that's undoubtedly the case here. So we upped our budget again, this time to $1,500.
Believe it or not, this was the hardest of all the builds we did for this project. When you're faced with a severe price restriction you have to get both extremely detailed and extremely creative, which makes the process seem like it's more about open doors than closed ones. And when you have essentially no price restriction, you can do whatever you want. But with $1,500, you’re free to ignore so much less-expensive equipment that you may feel as though you don't have room to move. You can buy some terrific hardware, but not a lot of it is the best that’s out there—and having to “make do” with something that’s only mostly excellent is less fun than it sounds.
So figuring out the proper balance between the good stuff and the really good stuff is not just crucial to building a system in the upper-middle pricing tier—it’s also maddeningly difficult. Still, this isn’t a bad problem to have, and with that spare $1,500 you’ll be able to build a gaming computer you can feel really positive about, even if the road to it is paved with (tiny) cobblestones of regret.
For our final installment in two weeks, we’ll look at the kind of system you can put together for $2,000. We love it, but our feelings for this $1,500 machine are only slightly less strong.

Choosing the Components
We’ve said in previous weeks that choosing the video card is an easy way to start laying out a gaming system. That remains true at $1,500, but there are more pitfalls here. You have enough money to buy some of the best (single-GPU) cards on the market, but you don’t want the rest of your computer to suffer as a result. So do you go all out on the graphics, or do you hold back just a bit so that the overall system is really a screamer?

Ultimately, we opted for the latter approach. Doing our shopping via Newegg we built on the base configuration we established with our $1,500 machine, but tweaked upward wherever we could. A number of things we just didn’t bother to change. We went with the same case (the $99.99 NZXT H2), power supply (the Thermaltake TR2 TRX-650M, priced at just $59.99 after rebate), and motherboard (the Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3, which this time we caught on an outstanding special-rebate combo for just $104.99), CPU (the $219.99 Intel Core i5-2500K).
As we mentioned last time, we arranged for our previous hard drive, a $99.99 1.5TB Western Digital Caviar Black, just before the recent Thailand floods caused an ungainly price spike throughout the hard drive market. Unfortunately we couldn't avoid paying more for less this time, but we decided to give up some speed and get more capacity with a 2TB Western Digital Caviar Green ($189.99)—it uses less energy and spins more slowly. But we weren't too concerned about rotational speed, because this time we had enough money to set up a two-drive system with one of the drives having more than enough speed to compensate: a solid-state drive (SSD), the price of which hasn't been adversely affected by the flooding. We settled on a 120GB OCZ Vertex 3—it’s not necessarily the fastest drive you can get, and certainly its capacity is nothing to email home about, but at $149.99 after rebate it’s a compelling entrée into the segment. Pairing that as an OS drive with a larger storage drive meant we’d get the best of both worlds, which is exactly what we wanted.
We made use of every other inch of wiggle room we could find in our budget, too—and the value-oriented components we'd already selected made it easier to splurge in a few other places. One of them was the third drive we needed: an Asus Black Blu-ray burner for our optical storage needs. Coming in at just $69.79 after a mail-in rebate, it would let us both read Blu-ray discs and burn DVDs—a nice combination. We also decided to spend a bit more ($94.99) on 8GB of extra-fast Corsair Vengeance memory, so we’d be able to maximize efficiency wherever we could to make up for the less-speedy-than-absolutely-ideal processor.
Last but by no means least was the video card. We didn’t even have a choice here: It had to be based on the Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 chipset—the fastest you can get in a single GPU card. We lucked out and found an overclocked EVGA version for $479.99 after rebate that we knew would make an outstanding centerpiece for our system.
For less than $1,500, we had put together a computer that would kill with nearly everything we threw at it, and that looked terrific to boot. Yes, for $2,000 we could go even further, but this system left us no room for complaints.

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