Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Locking your PC with Predator

You would not like anybody else to access your computer at your absence? That is understandable, because your computer is part of your identity and you can have multiple reasons not to allow other people to take a look into. So, how do you deal with that issue now? You, probably, have a screensaver, turning on after some inactivity time, and requires password to access the desktop again.

There are several drawbacks for using this method, and the developers of the special security software Predator from France Montpellier-Informatique tried to cover them to make the process secure, traceable, and customizable. The software is free for personal use, and it costs $29 for the Professional Edition license.

What Predator can do for you?

PREDATOR locks your PC when you are away, even if your Windows session is still opened.
It uses a regular USB flash drive as an access control device, and works as follows:
- you insert the USB drive
- you run PREDATOR (autostart with Windows is possible)
- you do your work...
- when you're away from your PC, you simply remove the USB drive. Once it is removed, the keyboard and mouse are disabled and the screen darkens
- when you return back to your PC, you put the USB flash drive in place. Keyboard and mouse are immediately released, and the display is restored.

It's easier and faster than closing your Windows session, since you do not have to retype your password when you return. However, you still can use the unlocking password in case, for example, you lose your USB drive, serving as unlocking key.

Using the software

1.       To start monitoring your PC
* Insert your key
* Run the software via the Start Menu / Programs / Predator item or via the PREDATOR icon on the Desktop
* Make sure that the PREDATOR icon flashes in the taskbar.
When you go away
* Look at the PREDATOR icon in the taskbar: if it is red, wait. If it is green and blinking, remove the key.
* The desktop will be locked in a few moments, depending on the settings you have chosen.
* If somebody tries to use your PC, PREDATOR shows the password dialog and starts a countdown.
If an invalid password is entered, PREDATOR sounds an audible alarm and displays a blinking Access Denied sign.
When you're back
* Insert the key. The desktop will be unlocked in less than a second.
* If somebody has tried to use your PC, PREDATOR automatically opens the Log window and shows the failed access attempts

Choose the proper installer for your version of Windows OS.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

AlbumSharper - Advanced Digital Photos Organizer

Album Shaper strives to be one of the friendliest, easy to use, free, and open source applications for organizing, annotating, framing, enhancing, stylizing, and sharing your digital photos. Album Shaper embraces open formats like XML, JPEG, and XSLT, while supporting Windows, Mac OS X and Unix users.

What can you do with Album Sharper?

Annotating Photos

Album Shaper provides possibly the easiest way to annotate your photos. To add a photo description, simply click the info button and watch your photo grow in place and provide a place to enter or short or long description. When you're done just click off the photo. Power users will enjoy driving this entire process using Home, Esc, ←, →, ↑ and ↓ keys.

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At the heart of Album Shaper 2's editing enhancements is a completely rewritten selection system. You can now select regions of the image using common aspect ratios or your display resolution. Selections can be dragged around, scaled in place, and rotated about their centers. You can drag any selection edge or corner too. If you want to crop the image, just select what you want and click the crop button.

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Correcting Tilt

The new correct tilt feature helps straighten your photos in a snap. Album Shaper doesn't need you to carefully tell it how much to rotate your photo by dragging a slider or, heaven forbid, typing in the number of degrees. Instead, just identify what should have been a vertical or horizontal edge and you're done.

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Histogram Editing, Brightness, and Contrast

While Album Shaper provides a number of automatic image fixing tools such as color and contrast correction and red-eye reduction, sometimes it is necessary to directly edit the image histogram. Using Album Shaper's novel "split-view" interface, you can quickly enhance your images and see the results side by side with the original form in real time.

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Image Previews

It is pretty common to have a directory full of files that have similar names. Now you can pick out the ones you want before you add them using the new file preview functionality. In addition seeing what photos look like, you'll the image resolution, type, and size.

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Developer’s website: http://albumshaper.sourceforge.net/

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

PrinterShare: share any printer over the internet

PrinterShare is a free service that allows your computer to share printers with any other computer, given that both are online and running the PrinterShare software. Runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Imagine the following: computer A has a printer attached to it, while computer B does not. If both are online and running PrinterShare, computer B can send a document to print that is received by A and printed on the attached printer. Now imagine that computer A happens to be in Seattle while B is in Istanbul.

At the core of it this is a document sharing program where instead of a document on your desktop the end result is a hard copy on your printer; (closer to a FAX machine than to email). Here are more notes on this service:

  • PrinterShare accounts: you will have to create a PrinterShare account for every computer you would like to connect. This requires (a) choosing a login name, and (b) providing a valid email. Other requested info is optional.
  • Encrypted communication: PrinterShare promises that your printed documents will be encrypted as they are sent online and decrypted on the other end. Your document will be transferred through the servers of the PrinterShare service.
  •  How it works: once both computers have the PrinterShare software installed, you can right click and share any connected printers in the main interface. You will also have to “find” the other PrinterShare accounts (you can search by account name) and once that happen’s you’re ready to print. PrinterShare lives in the system tray and will be displayed as a printer in your printers list. Predictably your documents will take slightly longer to print using PrinterShare than if they were printed directly on a connected printer.
  • The printers: you can share any printer including network printers and virtual printers (such as the PDF-generating PDFCreator or PrimoPDF).
  • Differences between the free and paid service: the free service will generate a cover-page that includes an ad. This is an extra page that you can discard afterwards; your document’s integrity is intact without watermarks or modifications.
  • Connecting: PrinterShare promises to connect “behind any proxy or firewall you may be under”, provided you are able to surf the internet with IE. You will need to unblock the app if your local firewall is blocking it.

With PrinterShare you can also print directly from your phone (selected models only) to anywhere in the world including your own printer. Install our mobile software on your Android phone or iPhone through Android Market or Google App Store correspondingly and Have a Good Print!

Nearby Printing: We can now print to Wi-Fi Printers shared on your Local Area Network (Nearby Printers). You can print from Android phone directly to a Wi-Fi printer or the one shared by your computer Bonjour service (Mac OS X has this by default) without having to install PrinterShare computer software. You don't need to log in or sign up with the system for Nearby Printing.

For Remote Printing over the Internet, you need to either log in with your existing account or create new one of the fly, it's free. Then you need to find and select the printer you want to print to. The computer connected to the printer needs to have PrinterShare software installed, just like when you print from computer to computer using PrinterShare.

When printing from the phone the printout information is securely sent over the Internet through PrinterShare service to the target printer. Whenever possible, we try to optimize print data flow, for instance send it over local network if your mobile device and the printer are on the same LAN.

Developers Website: http://www.printershare.com/

Choose carefully the Operating System for your Desktop or Mobile Phone for downloading a correct software version for your computer and gadgets. 

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