Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Antivirus Software: Not As Protective As You Think

Most of us think it’s vital that you keep your antivirus software current. This is how we can protect our systems from viruses. Recently MIT's Technology Review published an article that opposes this “given” we have all lived by.

Antivirus Software: Unreliable?

The antivirus software that we have paid for and long relied on to safeguard our information may not be effective. The technology is running a race with malware programs and malware is winning. More sophisticated and tricky to detect malware comes out every day and this is very concerning to those of us who access the Internet on a day-to-day bases.

Burned by Flame

The Technology Review story concentrates on Flame, probably the most complicated examples of malware ever discovered. According to the story, Flame has been copying documents and making recordings of audio, keystrokes, network traffic and Skype calls and taking screenshots of all this activity from the computers it has corrupted. What’s the worst part? Flame has been doing this for around two years, according to the Technology Review story. And during this time, not a single bit of security software discovered this particularly clever bit of malware.

An Industry Under Siege

Wouldn’t it be nice if Flame was the only malware that could get by antivirus software? Unfortunately, this is not the case. There are quite a few that are more than difficult to detect and as soon as antivirus software gets upgraded, malware is developed that challenges it even more. This doesn't mean it's not necassary to take all measures available to protect your computer, like keeping your antivirus software up to date. You should just be aware that there are viruses out there that may slip through. Hopefully the antivirus industry will eventually catch up with the growth of viruses and malware.


Friday, September 21, 2012

The Future Of Charging Our Devices

The world is relying more and more on mobile devices and this has made not only battery life, but also our capability to charge our devices on the go really important. We have seen solar chargers, and other innovative products come out as a solution to this. But how about using our clothing! It might seem strange but inventors have been developing clothing and material that actually charges devices. A recent Mashable story discusses a few and we have gone into more detail below.

Rain Boots that Charge Your Phone

Orange, a British mobile carrier that partnered with a firm named GotWind in 2010 to produce rain boots that consumers can use to charge their phones. The boots were just a prototype, presented at the Glastonbury Music Festival, but the prototype showed enough potential to get mobile users excited.

Military Tech

The military is usually coming up with innovative technologies and this holds true for charging technology as well. The military is currently using a product made by Intellectual Textiles. It is pieces of fabric that are sewn into vests, shirts, and helmets. Essentially, it charges one battery at a time. Then the power from that battery is sent to whatever device needs to be charged through the clothing.

The Most Advanced Felt in the World

And if you thought that was sophisticated, check out Power Felt. Scientists at the Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials at Wake Forest University are developing this currently. It is a thermoelectric device that turns body heat into electricity. It’s like something out of a sci-fi novel but if they nail this technology down, then we may have an unlimited supply of electricity from our clothing for our devices.

These technologies will alter the way we charge our devices and almost remove the limitations we currently have due to inadequate batteries. That will be a great day!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Which E-reader Deserves Your Money

Have you been looking for an e-book reader? They are very popular these days and there are many products to pick from. This can make it tricky to ascertain which one has the features you need. Most of the e-readers on the market are quality items, so, no matter which one you choose, you'll probably be pleased. We've outlined three below that are some of the best.

Nook Color: Barnes & Noble's Nook Color e-reader is both affordable and well designed. Today, you can buy the Nook Color for about $150. That's not a bad bargain. And perhaps because of its connection to the country's largest bookseller, the Nook Color provides a exceptional reading experience. The Nook Color is adept at both prose and graphic display. This will make reading children's books and graphic novels a pleasure. Additionally, there are several user capabilities that are a joy to use. For example, if you don't know the meaning of a word in that Mark Twain novel you're reading, just press it. A definition will pop up.

The Nook Color also comes with several built-in applications, including Pandora, an e-mail reader, a web browser, and an addictive crossword puzzle game. You can increase the power of your Nook Color by downloading apps from the app store. Here you will find Netflix, the Smithsonian Channel, and several other top apps. So what is the only problem with the Nook color? Its app store, while boasting lots of choices, it sometimes lacks some of the more cutting-edge apps out there. Here's hoping that the Nook Color will introduce apps at a quicker pace.

Kindle Fire: The Kindle Fire is very similar to the Nook Color and is one of the more popular e-readers available. The reading experience on the Kindle Fire is extremely clear and just like the Nook Color it comes with its own email client and web browser. The Kindle is affordable, too, with the current price tag being under $200.

The one negative thing people have found with the Kindle Fire is that to adjust the volume you have to touch the screen to gain access to the controls.

Kobo e-Reader: The Kobo e-Reader Touch doesn't have the name recognition of either the Nook Color or the Kindle Fire. But that doesn't mean it's not a worthy competitor. Actually, you wouldn't go wrong by spending your e-reader dollars on this neat device if reading is your main goal. Users rave about the reading experience on the Kobo. Images and words are sharp and simple to read. In fact, the Kobo offers seven unique font styles and 17 different font sizes for readers to choose from. Others rave about the device's soft, quilted back. Don't laugh; this back makes holding a Kobo feel a lot more like holding an actual book. That's a feature the Nook Color or Amazon Kindle can't boast.

At the Kobo store, you can download e-books in an array of formats. The Kobo is particularly good with comic books and other graphics-heavy books. And then there's this: When the Kobo's Wi-Fi feature is shut off, the device's battery life can last for as long as one full month. That’s pretty extraordinary. The Kobo doesn't boast all of the features of a Nook Color or an Amazon Fire. But for those who want to focus on reading, this e-reader does the job.