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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Remodeling…moving furniture around?

 Sweet Home 3D is a free interior design Java application that helps you place your furniture on a house 2D plan, with a 3D preview. You draw the plan of your house, arrange furniture then view the results in 3D. You have two options: download and install it on your computer or use it online within your browser. 
     Sweet Home 3D is an open source SourceForge.net project distributed under GNU General Public License and is available in English, French, and 22 other languages. Runs under Windows, Mac OS X 10.4 to 10.9, Linux and Solaris.

Free OCR to Word


     Free OCR to Word is very simple to use text recognition software that makes all your tedious retyping and recreating documents easy. You simply scan a document then edit it in Microsoft Word.
     The OCR to Word program works with any of the popular image files of JPG, JPEG, PSD, PNG, GIF, TIFF, BMP and more from a scanner attached to your computer or a digital camera, scanned image files received from a friend, or image files stored on your computer, etc.  OCR to Word has the capability to identify text within image files, turn it into an electronic document and save it in the format of your choice.
     Before scanning, some adjustment of scanning parameters is allowed, such as: Color format, File type, Resolution (DPI), Brightness, Contrast and more. Some image & document tools are integrated with the software for image errors correcting and document editing. With document tools you can clear the text window, remove line breaks, copy and paste the text, even add some words that are missing or correct the wrong words.
     This is the program I use for all my scanning and text editing. Highly recommended! Download.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Spy Alert!

    George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four was published in 1949; it was set in Airstrip One (formerly known as Great Britain), a province of the superstate Oceania in a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public mind control, dictated by a political system euphemistically named English Socialism (or, in the government's invented language, Newspeak, called Ingsoc) under the control of a privileged Inner Party elite that persecutes all individualism and independent thinking as "thought crimes".
     The tyranny is epitomized by Big Brother. Big Brother and the Party justify their oppressive rule in the name of a supposed greater good. Orwell described a future of slavery and manipulation that allowed the government to control the masses. It’s going on now and for the most part is so subtle as to go unnoticed.
     In the Bible, Revelation 13:16-17, speaking of the Anti-Christ reads, “And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.…”
     Our cars are being programmed, cameras are being installed everywhere in public, researchers want to start bar-coding embryos and we are moving into a cashless society. It’s easy to see how all this will give the government total control over our lives. Technological advances are a great convenience, but also a real threat. Sound farfetched? According to Forbes these devices are capable of spying on you in your own home.

Televisions: Televisions may track what you watch. Some LG televisions were found to spy on not only what channels were being watched, but even transmitted back to LG the names of files on USB drives connected to the television
Kitchen Appliances: Many recent-generation kitchen appliances come equipped with connectivity that allows for great convenience, but this benefit comes at a price – potential spying and security risks.
DVR/Cable-Box/Satellite: TV Receiver Providers of television programming can easily track what you are watching or recording, and can leverage that information to target advertisements more efficiently.
Modem (and Internet Service Provider): If it wanted to, or was asked by the government to do so, your ISP could easily compile a list of Internet sites with which you have communicated.
Smartphones: Not only may your cellular provider be tracking information about you – such as with whom you communicate and your location.
Webcam or Home Security Cameras: On that note, malware installed on your computer may take control of the machine’s webcam and record you – by taking photos or video – when you think the camera is off.
Telephones: It is common knowledge that the NSA has been tracking people’s calls, and even the changes proposed by President Obama won’t truly eliminate the spying.
Lights, Home Entertainment Systems, and Home Alarm Systems: Various newer lighting, home entertainment, and home security systems can be controlled via Wi-Fi or even across the Internet.
Thermostats (Heat and/or Air Conditioning): Various Internet-connected thermostats are now available. They provide great convenience, but might they also be transmitting information about your preferences to others?
Laundry Equipment: Like kitchen appliances, washers and dryers that connect to the Internet may report information that users may not realize is being shared.
Medical Devices: It is not news that pacemakers, insulin pumps, and other medical devices can be hacked.
iPods or Other Entertainment Devices: Yes, there are still millions of people using specialized non-phone-equipped electronic devices, but these devices are often Wi-Fi enabled and pose similar to risks to smartphones as discussed above.
Coming Soon… Your Handgun: Millions of Americans keep guns in their homes, so privacy issues surrounding firearms are an issue regardless of one’s position in the perpetual American debate about gun control. In the near future so-called “smartguns” – firearms that contain computers with various safety capabilities intended to prevent accidents and curtail unauthorized use – are expected to enter the market. READ MORE

It's probably not much help, but here are three steps you can take to protect yourself from online spying. HERE

Friday, January 31, 2014

Webroot AntiVirus

     For years I used Norton AntiVirus on my computers. Then about a year ago my 10-year nephew was using my laptop to play a kid’s game and a virus sneaked past Norton. Trying to reach Norton proved impossible. Phone calls placed after a Google search lead me all over the world talking to people who it turned out were not from Norton. Also, you might want to check out this review from Rip Off Report
     I finally gave up and took the laptop to Best Buy to get it cleaned up. In the process they replaced Norton with Webroot. AV-Test reported in their January/February 2013 report that Webroot SecureAnywhere antimalware engine was 99.8% effective against malware and 100% effective against Zero-day threats.
     Detection of widespread and prevalent malware discovered in the last 4 weeks was 100%(the AV-TEST reference set, with an industry average 99%. Protection against 0-day malware attacks, inclusive of web and e-mail threats was rated at 95% (January) and 97% (February) in the AV-TEST Real-World Testing.
     Webroot had the worst results out of 20 products tested by AV-Comparatives in the September 2012 File Detection Test of Malicious Software, both in terms of malware detection rates and false alarms. Webroot detected less than 80 percent of viral samples, much worse than the 94.4 percent rate of the second lowest detecting product. Among clean files, Webroot inappropriately flagged 210 of them, raising as many false-positives as the other 19 products tested combined. According to AV-comparatives, the "results and misses have been confirmed with several tests and also by the vendor".
     On the other hand, AV-Comparatives gave nine vendors, including Webroot, its highest award in its July 2012 Anti-Phishing Test, in which Webroot took 9th place among 18 products tested in regards to the blocking of phishing websites. In AV-Comparative's Performance Test for October 2012, Webroot had the best PCMark score, having the lightest impact out of 20 products tested on a Windows 7 64-bit machine. PC Magazine has awarded Webroot SecureAnywhere 12 times with Editor's Choice and Security Product of the Year, its highest award given to security and software programs. In PC Magazines's test for 2013, Webroot was recognized by PC Magazine staff as having the best score in malware blocking tests, malware removal tests, fast scans, and fast installation.
     According to a recent PC World article, “Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete ($52 for one year of protection on up to five PCs) offers an intuitive interface, very fast system scans, and a mobile security component. Unfortunately, it falls short where it counts: protection. In our real-world (zero-day) tests, Webroot blocked just 82 percent of Web and email threats and unknown viruses—a comparatively weak showing, considering that half the suites in our roundup nailed all of them, and two others stopped 98 percent of the attacks. Webroot did a better job of protecting against known malware (arising within 30 days of the testing), successfully blocking 99 percent of attacks. Microsoft Security Essentials blocked just 93 percent of known malware attacks). However, most of the other security suites in our roundup successfully blocked 100 percent of known malware attacks. Also on the down side, Webroot SecureAnywhere was overzealous in denouncing benign files as security risks, too. In our usability tests, the program flagged five legitimate programs (out of thousands tried) as dangerous.”
     Earlier this week, I renewed my Webroot suscription. A major factor in that decision was because when it was installed by Best Buy I had access to the Geek Squad which is a subsidiary of Best Buy. The Geek Squad provides services in-store, on-site, and over the Internet via remote access, and also provides 24-hour telephone and emergency on-site support. I had my second encounter with the Geek Squad yesterday. 
     For some reason my Hewlett Packard all-in-one Photosmart printer just up and quit. At first I thought it was because I had two firewalls (Microsoft and Webroot) but that wasn't the problem.  After messing with it for half a day and not getting it to work, I gave up. Yesterday morning I accessed Geek Squad's live online help at 7:30 am and in less than a minute had a rep online. He switched me to a tech and within 30 minutes (most of that waiting for a driver to download) the problem was solved. Cost - $0.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Trick Life

This is a cool site. I’m not sure everything on the site is completely legal. Learning tricks to hack software, get free gas or hack a vending machine might get you into trouble, but there is a lot of interesting and fun stuff. If you want to learn how to make a ping-pong pistol, burn bubbles, use your cell phone to hide money, test a tv remote, juggle balls, make a coke bomb, fake extraordinary strength, levitate, shape your eyebrows, breakdance and all kinds of other stuff, this is the place to visit. Can’t tell you what the “Romance/Sex” section has to offer though. Visit Trick Life

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Check if Somebody is Spying on Your Secure Internet Connection

In the light of all the recent revelations about government and other institutions spying on us, you can check to see if someone is eavesdropping on the HTTPS connections you visit HERE. You can tell if your ISP or other agency is using a fake SSL certificate to look at your supposedly secure HTTPS encrypted traffic. The site also gives detailed technical information on what HTTPS is and how it works.

Free Kindle Books

Gizmo's Tech Support list sites with free ebooks and audiobooks. It has 3 pages that separate sites on the format of the ebooks, Kindle, ePub and Online reading. To the best of Gizmo’s knowledge all of the websites offer only legal content.