Category Archives: computers

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Many people believe that if they have a firewall, they are safe from attacks. However, this is only one piece of the puzzle you need in order to keep your computer running fast and to keep your information safe. Antivirus programs help to keep your system free of <a title=”How Do You Get a Virus and How Combofix Remove This Virus?” href=”http://www.combofix.org/how-get-a-virus-how-combofix-works.php”>viruses</a>, while spyware blockers keep your system safe from spyware. All of the three work together in keeping your computer secure and safe.<!–more–>

<strong>Spyware Removers </strong>

Spyware is a program that attaches itself to various programs that you download. The entire purpose of the spyware is to track your Internet usage and by doing so many of the spyware programs being sending you Spam. Therefore, if you have noticed an increase in spam, chances are you have spyware. What’s more, spyware is a program and all programs on your computer use your system resources, therefore it is helping itself to your computer’s resources, which ultimately take away from the power you need for your own programs.<span id=”more-108″></span>

No one ever has just one piece of spyware, computers over time can become infected with spyware and thus, <a title=”Malicious Software could be the Cause of Your Slow Computer” href=”http://www.combofix.org/malicious-software-could-be-the-cause-of-your-slow-computer.php”>slow your system down,</a> and ultimately affect your Internet speed. When you use spyware blockers, it blocks the spyware from attaching to your browser and installing on your computer. Although, spyware is clever and constantly changing, so you will want to run the spyware scanner in order to remove any spyware that did make it through the anti-spyware blocker at least once each week.

In the end, spyware does in fact wreak havoc on your computer because it slows it down. However, spyware’s ultimate goal is not malicious as much as they want to spy on your Internet usage. The problem of course happens when many spyware programs download to your computer, which is what ultimately slows it down.

<strong>Virus Removers</strong>

With viruses that are completely different then spyware because, a virus’ main objective is to do harm to your computer system. In addition, <a title=”Difference between a Trojan and worm” href=”http://www.combofix.org/difference-between-a-trojan-and-worm.php”>Trojan horses</a> can disguise itself as a useful program, such as free music, the user has no idea that they also downloaded a Trojan and it begins to work in the background by gaining access to your personal information such as credit card information, driver’s license, and social security number.

This is where antivirus firewall software comes in and why it is so important. Your firewall protects you from vicious attacks when you are connected to a network, your <a title=”Choosing The Best Antivirus Programs For Windows 8″ href=”http://www.combofix.org/antivirus-programs-for-windows-8.php”>antivirus</a> software runs 24 hours everyday in order to keep out viruses that are ever so sneaky at trying to make their way on your computer. Some virus’s main goal is to totally destroy your hard drive and take everything with it such as your files, documents, music, and photos. Other viruses want to gather private information as in the case of the Trojan.

<strong>Your Best Defense</strong>

Your best defense again both spyware and viruses is to make good use of spyware blockers and antivirus firewall software programs because these can keep your computer running smoothly and keep the attacks at bay.

For antivirus and firewalls, you need to make sure you have one that is constantly updating. New viruses are released almost daily, so your antivirus protection needs to be out there looking for new viruses and creating the protect to send to you to download by way of a definition. Likewise, your firewall also needs to be updated on a regular basis and if you run Windows, you can use its built-in firewall and turn it to update automatically to ensure you are always up to day.

While spyware blockers and antivirus firewall software are very different, they have one major component that is similar and that is to protect your computer. This allows your computer continues to operate at top speed and top performance and is not bogged down with spyware or worse, viruses. Keeping yourself safe on the Internet is vital and therefore, you should not download anything that is not a trusted piece of software or document.

Why You Should Limit the Use of Email in Business Communications

Email Communications
The invention of email communications has had a profound impact on businesses in the past two decades. Decisions can be communicated rapidly, information can be dispersed to wide audiences with ease, and data can be transferred between parties with limited effort. It is truly a revolution in the way we do business.

However, with this great communication comes a new way of doing things, and mistakes have been made by businesses when communicating via email. There are certain situations when email is not the best method of communication. Sometimes alternative methods are better. Here is why. Continue reading

The Best Way to Save on Phone Costs When Traveling Abroad

Phone Costs
Traveling abroad is always exciting, even if it’s just for a short business trip. Anyone given the opportunity to visit a city and explore a culture different from their own will surely jump at the chance. However, the one universal complaint shared by virtually every traveler is the high cost of staying connected. Phone service is a necessity in life, but it’s also something everyone complains about either because of the poor service or the unreasonably high cost, especially when you’re paying separate fees for your mobile device and home phone service. Continue reading

3 Customer Service Mobile Apps That Enable Video Chat

3 Customer Service Mobile Apps
In the age of Web-enabled mobile devices, rich media content, and widespread availability of fast Wi-Fi, more and more of your customers will come to expect video conferencing on mobile customer service helpdesks as the norm. In fact, by 2018, over 100 of the 500 largest global firms will have video chat as a component of their customer interactions, according to a Gartner study.

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Video chat enables your well-trained agents to proffer relevant and helpful content to customers in real time. Troubleshooting and making product demonstrations are also better conducted through live video. You can reduce cart abandonment on your e-commerce site by having on-call agents guiding prospective buyers who are uncertain about completing their purchase. Being one step closer to a face-to-face interaction, video chat makes for a unique and powerful addition to your online customer service strategy. Here are three good examples of richly featured customer service mobile apps with video chat functionality.

ClickDesk

With ClickDesk, your customers can quickly initiate video calling on your website without having them install any hardware or software. With ClickDesk’s video chat software solution, a click-to-call icon launches a live video interface window with intuitive call control settings. While interacting on live video, your remote agents can share content to customers in real time.
ClickDesk’s monthly plans have a starting price of $16.99 per agent.

SightCall

SightCall enables you to display a video call button on your website or on your chat support mobile app interface, giving your customers easy access to your well-trained agents regardless of the browser they are using. This online helpdesk platform allows your agents to share their screen or an application to customers, as well as send data securely and in real time. Using a remote pointer, your agents can also annotate, point, and draw on a live screen to better communicate with online shoppers. The latter feature becomes especially handy when directing a customer on how to navigate or look for certain items on a Web page.
SightCall’s monthly pricing starts at $0.20 for every user.

VeriShow

With VeriShow, you can foster customer loyalty and boost your online helpdesk by offering your customers an option to chat with your agents on live video. Like SightCall, VeriShow works on all browsers–mobile and otherwise–and offers content-sharing in real time so that your agents can better position their offers or guide customers. Co-browsing, where your agent and a customer views the same synchronized Web page in a live session while interacting through a video chat interface, is another helpful feature offered by VeriShow. Through the latter feature, the agent can point using the cursor or highlight sections. This comes in handy when assisting customers to fill out forms or find an item on a Web page.Monthly plans start at $49 per agent.

3 Free Tools for Novice HTML Coders

Tools for Novice HTML CodersLearning code is tough. While HTMLis easier to learn than most other code languages, it is still, effectively, an entirely different language from English. Syntax, layout and even basic vocabulary can drastically differ from common language. Many novice coders will stress themselves about the difficulty of learning HTML, and what they may be doing wrong. While there is no set way to learn HTML, there certainly are tools to make the process easier. This article outlines three free tools which can make all the difference to any beginner HTML coder.

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Notepad++

Many newbie coders will write their code in simple text editors such as Windows‘ built-in Notepad. While simple text editors will certainly get the job done, they do it rather messily, as they aren’t built to properly display the structure and complexity of HTML syntax. Enter Notepad++, a tool which is, at first glance, somewhat reminiscent of Notepad classic. However, load an HTML file into it, and the differences are readily apparent. Tags, hyperlinks and other core elements of your code are now color-coded, and everything is presented in a neat format designed specifically for coding. If you don’t have a similar program already, Notepad++ is a free and fantastic tool to help organize your HTML.

Pen and Paper

While decidedly more analog than the clean sheets of a text editing program, it really pays off to write your code down by hand. Writing things out helps for memorization, and keeping a journal of sample code is a great way to capitalize on this. Now, it’s not enough to simply read a textbook, as while they are good for reference, nothing truly helps you learn like recording and revisiting a private journal. Be it entire websites or just snippets of code, writing out your HTML will really help you keep track of it.

Codecademy

Even if you take coding classes, using Codecademy.com carries a range of benefits. Not only is it great practice, you may also learn some new tips or shortcuts. Their courses aren’t just for beginners either, as they range from the very basics to more advanced functions and syntax, including various popular APIs such as YouTube and SoundCloud. In addition to HTML and CSS, they offer free courses in PHP, Python, JavaScript, Ruby, and jQuery.

While these tools won’t have you making world-class websites overnight, they will certainly improve your skills. HTML isn’t designed to be easy, so don’t fret over its difficulty. With the proper tools and dedication, anyone can learn to code.

Awesome Features of Spartan, the Web Browser for Windows 10

After the Windows 8 debacle, Microsoft has taken user feedback seriously, as evidenced by the attention to details in the interface design and features of Windows 10. For instance, there’s Spartan, the codename for a rigorously overhauled Web browser that will be rolled out with the scheduled Windows 10 release in 2015. The browser has been touted to contain some unique and advanced features that are not available in other browsers. And no, Spartan is not a new version of Internet Explorer. Here’s a quick round up of what you can do with it.

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Inking

Through a functionality called inking that is based on Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud service, you can use your stylus to write on Web pages loaded via Spartan. Aside from giving you the ability to scribble notes directly on a Web page, Spartan’s powerful inking functionality also allows you to share your “annotated” Web pages across multiple platforms and browsers.

Cortana

Allowing for maximum convenience by supporting hands-free control of your laptop or hybrid computing machine, the highly functional voice-command-directed virtual assistant Cortana is very much integrated with Spartan. Activate by speaking “Hey, Cortana” and then instruct your trusty virtual assistant to call up your hotel bookings data, track your packages, search for information on the internet, and do other Web-browsing-related tasks.

Organized Multiple Tabs

If you are a heavy multitasker who tends to end up with many open Web browser tabs, Spartan has the answer to that. To enhance Web browsing efficiency, group your open tabs accordingly. You can indicate them as personal and work-related tabs, for example.

Seamless Transition across Multiple Devices

Designed to work as a browser app across all types of computing machines, Spartan is said to possess a similar look and feel even when launched on a variety of Web-connected devices such as smartphones, tablets, and PCs. Spartan’s desktop version is styled as a minimalist adaptation of Google Chrome. To quickly and more easily update the browser, Microsoft is reported to have made Spartan available as an app in the Windows Store.

Camera Bag Review – ThinkTank ,Tamrac and More

Camera Bag Review
To photographers, the term camera bag can refer to a wide variety of equipment. From a small lens case that attaches to a belt to giant rolling hard-sided cases the size of steamer trunks, camera bags come in all sizes and shapes. Many professional photographers will own at least one of each size and type of bag to handle a variety of jobs and purposes. But every photographer has one go-to bag that handles the day to day job of carrying, protecting and organizing their main camera bodies, lenses and supplies. This article will review four bags that fit this job description:

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ThinkTank Streetwalker Pro

ThinkTank is well known among professional photographers for quality and durable camera bags built to last a lifetime. The Streetwalker Pro model balances size, performance and flexibility. The main compartment, with all dividers removed, is large enough to hold a pro model camera body with a 400 mm f/2.8 lens attached. Depending on the configuration of the dividers, this same compartment can hold a camera body with a 70-200 mm zoom lens attached along with 2-3 more lenses and a flash. With small lenses, it can accommodate two camera bodies. Numerous other pouches on the back of the bag and attached to the contoured straps can hold other small items, such as light meters, cell-phones, memory cards and extra batteries. A rain cover is provided that is stored in a zippered pocket and exterior straps will hold a tripod in place

Tamrac Expedition 5

Tamrac is a name that is better known to most mainstream photographers and is one of the brands that can be found in most any store that sells photographic gear. The Tamrac Expedition 5, like the ThinkTank bag, is a good medium sized bag for everyday use. The Tamrac is slightly wider and deeper than the ThinkTank, but not quite as tall. The main pocket is also configurable and can hold a camera, 4-5 lenses and a flash, or two cameras with fewer lenses. The Tamrac also has a padded front pocket that will hold a small (12 inch) laptop or tablet. On the back of the bag, two zippered wing pockets will hold a variety of small items. Between these two pockets is a clip based system to hold a tripod.

Lowerpro X200

Lowepro is the other well-known brand of consumer camera bags. The X200 falls slightly outside the normal scope of this article, but with its removable, internal section, which doubles as a backpack, this bag offers the best of both worlds, being both a rolling bag and a backpack. At almost twice the size as the other two, this bag is only for those wanting to carry around the maximum amount of gear. Again, with a configurable main compartment, this bag can carry multiple camera bodies and the longest of lenses with plenty of room to spare. Being larger, it can handle a full-size laptop. There are straps on the sides for a tripod. As a rolling bag, it has a retractable handle and sturdy wheels. Unzip the outer case and pull out the inner bag from the Velcro straps and it becomes a large, but comfortable backpack.

Lowepro Slingshot 302

The size of the Slingshot 302 model is back on par with the first two bags and is the largest of the Slingshot line. The amount of gear that can be stored in the main pocket is comparable to those bags as well, but the Slingshot bag has a unique feature in its single shoulder strap design. This allows the bag to be swiveled to in front of the photographer who can gain access to equipment to the handy side zipper. The bag has a single strap that goes across the chest in front to help distribute weight and is aided by a hip belt. The hip belt carries most of the weight, making the single strap a feasible feature. There is a zippered pouch on the back of the bag to hold the smaller essentials. There is also a large upper pocket for a water bottle and other non-photographic needs.

Most, if not all, camera bag manufacturers have a bag that fits this medium to large category, and will hold a similar amount of equipment, but as they say, the devil is in the details. It’s the little things that can make one bag the perfect choice for the photographer, whether it’s being able to access equipment without taking the bag off or being able to handle a specific body-lens combination. The main thing is to buy a quality bag from a well-known manufacturer that can give a lifetime of rugged use.

Simple Tricks for Improving Photographic Composition in the Digital Darkroom

Digital DarkroomEffective composition can make or break a photograph. All photographers have returned from a shoot and felt disappointment looking at their pictures, and this is often down to poor composition. Fortunately, there are a number of simple tricks which can be used in the digital darkroom to improve a picture.

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Photoshop is regarded as one of the best software tools for photo editing, but there are many other options. For example, Gimp is a free to download photo editing package which offers many of the same functions as Photoshop. The following improvements to composition can be made using most image editing tools.

Crop in tight

Wasted space around the main subject is one of the main faults which can ruin a picture. Photographs of people can be turned from snapshots into portraits with some smart cropping. Cropping in tight to a subject creates a much more powerful photograph, and it can be achieved in a few clicks in the digital darkroom. Some photo editing tools offer gridlines which can be used to crop with great precision.

Straighten up

Basic tools can be used to remedy a wonky horizon or correct camera tilt in an image. Shooting with the horizon at a slight angle is an easy mistake to make in the heat of the moment, and correcting this can be an instant improvement to a picture’s composition.

The Clone Stamp

Another common annoyance which can ruin a picture is something you didn’t notice at the time you took the shot, such as a post behind someone’s head. Telephone or electricity cables often spoil an otherwise great landscape shot. The Clone Stamp is a fantastic tool to cover these mistakes. It can be used to paint sky or grass over a distraction and bring an instant improvement to a photograph. The Clone Stamp can also be used to add more attractive elements to a picture, such as painting additional flowers into a garden scene.

Rotate for effect

Rotating a picture can add a sense of movement and create a highly dynamic image. This technique is particularly effective for action shots, but also works well with certain styles of portraits. The composition of an otherwise dull shot can be improved with simple use of rotation tools.

The Blur Tool

Too much sharpness in a photograph can confuse the eye and make it hard to identify the intended subject. Opening the aperture will blur the background and isolate the main subject, but it’s not always possible to achieve this effect when a shot is taken. The Blur Tool in image editing software allows the user to remove distractions from the background and create a more effective composition. A similar effect can be achieved using layers and filters in the digital darkroom, but this requires more experience.

Flip the image

A very simple way to improve the composition of a photograph is to flip the picture horizontally or vertically. If you wish you’d taken a shot with the subject on the other side of the frame, this quick change will produce a more effective composition.
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Content Aware Tool

The latest version of Photoshop offers the incredibly powerful Content Aware Tool. This allows a subject to be moved within a picture in seconds. Photoshop replaces the pixels left behind with those that match the blank space, making the change invisible. This is the ultimate tool for improving composition in the digital darkroom.

Three Free and Essential 3D Tools for Any Artist

3D Tools for Any Artist
The world of 3D art is a costly one. Programs such as Autodesk Maya and 3DS MAX have price tags of thousands of dollarsmoney, making them inaccessible to anyone but those already established in the industry. These programs are typically used in tandem with others, such as Adobe Photoshop or CrazyBump, and these also run for hundreds of dollars each. However, as the industry has expanded, so too have alternatives, and nearly everything a prospective artist needs can now be found for free. These three free programs are the essentials for any 3D artist on a budget.

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Most important is the 3D modeling suite itself. For this there is Blender, an open-source program which stacks up well when compared with its pricey alternatives. Blender 3D has everything a user needs, from basic functions such as mesh editing and sculpting to more advanced features such as node-based material creation and surface tracking. Additionally, its development is almost entirely community-based, so anyone with a good knowledge of coding and an idea for a new feature can contribute via plugins, and end users can download and use these community plugins. Blender can be found at blender.org.

However, the models created in Blender will still need color to bring them to life. Be it photographs or hand-drawn art, high-quality textures can be created using GIMP. GIMP, or the GNU Image Manipulation Program, is another open-source program, this time replacing Adobe Photoshop. It has advanced features similar to that of Photoshop, and, like Blender, a large number of community-made plugins. This is a great tool for generating basic textures, although for more advanced texturing, one may want to purchase a texture-painting program. Substance Painter is one such program, and can be had for $150, which is a hefty price tag for some, but one shouldn’t need this until one is sufficiently experienced with GIMP and Blender. GIMP, however, can be found for free at gimp.org.

Finally, for bump map creation, there is really only one free program worth anything. That rather obscure program is Njob, which is by Charles Hollemeersch. While rather simple and lacking in features, Njob can quickly and effectively generate bump and normal maps from photographs or photograph-based textures. While it lacks advanced features such as height customization and a 3D viewport, it certainly is enough to create high-quality texture bumps for any need. This program may require a bit of a search to find, but Google should do the job.

As the 3D industry expands, so do alternatives, and there will likely soon be free competitors to more advanced programs such as Substance Painter. Until then, with a bit of work, this set of programs will fulfill any user’s needs, and may very well get him or her started on the path to a career.