TAG: Software

How best to store your passwords securely and safely in an offline database

“Password Day” by Worlds Direction is licensed under CC0 1.0 

Passwords aren’t going anywhere. Even though we’ve seen a rise in a new type of authentication including two-factor and even Yubico-style log in options; passwords still seem to persist in our lives. If you’re online and use passwords (I know you do), you want to be as sure as possible when storing them. This means, no more writing passwords on paper or post-it notes – it just isn’t safe.

7 Key Ways To Protect Yourself From Malicious Software

The most important line users cross with any software is the point of running (or installation). This is usually where you have a need to fulfill (like play video), and a software title in mind (like VLC media Player). But, since you’re a cautious user who doesn’t assume a virus scanner is perfect, and you don’t wish to be infected by malicious software – you want to be proactive about protecting yourself. What do you, then? Here are some proven strategies to help ensure you stay safe.

Free Software: Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes Editor ScreenshotI get ideas for stuff on a near constant basis. Sometimes older software I created for a particular purpose comes back around and captures my attention. Meeting Minutes is one such application. I wrote it for a client that needed to keep track of meetings and also wanted to give users in the office tools to read and comment on these meetings. At the time, I was just trying to solve a particular problem. Now, this is something you can use in your own company to track meetings. Let’s take a closer look.

Free Canadian Tax Software Done Well – StudioTax

StudioTax from BHOK IT Consulting

Taxes are the bane of every Canadian’s existence. When it’s time to do a tax return, many are hit again with costs for software (or the rather unfortunate need to pay a tax preparer). There are better ways though. If you are a person with a willingness to take on taxes yourself, free tax software is out there. One you should be aware of is StudioTax. Let’s take a look at what makes this so great.

Anti-Virus Software Is Dead, Long Live Anti-Virus Software

Eset LogoThe anti-virus (AV) application is dead, right? This often bloated, resource intensive application has to scan every single file on a computer; but still misses that one malicious application that brings your network to its knees. What are we to do now that viruses have become so sophisticated and agile? Change the way we approach security, or tell everyone that anti-virus software is just misunderstood?

For those that trumpet AV software, like David Harley of Eset, those in the media and technology industry are simply lost on the value that anti-virus software provides. In a paper released on the company’s  We Live Security blog, Harley goes about crushing all arguments for AV obsolescence in favor of level-headed acceptance of failure – because, “perhaps that’s inevitable”. The fact is, every once in a while, a testing site or  company comes along with a provocative report saying anti-virus software doesn’t work.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview

Windows Server Logo (2013)I just noticed a recent preview of Windows Server has been released for download and testing. You can download Windows Server 2012 R2 on Microsoft’s site here. If you are interested in server operating systems, this is probably one you download and check out. I’m especially interested in the new tiered “Storage Spaces” feature that seems like an amazing Apple Fusion-esque way of using SSDs for maximum performance. While configuring that feature may be possible, seeing it in full-scale action may be a little more difficult. I’m also interested in what Microsoft will do with cloud storage options and StoreSimple, a company they acquired last year. There are a number of other updates to virtualization, VPNs, and the interesting “Software Defined Networking“. 

5 More Ways to Use Bittorrent Sync

Bittorrent SyncBittorrent Sync is amazing in a number of ways. But, because of its simplicity, it allows for uses far beyond even what the authors might have envisioned. The basic idea is to keep files synchronized between two or more devices – much like Dropbox, but without storing these files on a server. Since I’ve had the chance to look at Bittorrent Sync back in April, a number of thoughts have come to mind that I thought I’d share.

Dead Computer? Keep Windows, and Transfer it to a Virtual Machine

Windows 7 logoIf you’ve had to replace your failed computer and wondered what you could keep – you’ll want to read this. The genesis of this idea comes from having the need to virtualize various different operating systems, but changing computers often. I virtualize to test software, test installations, and various other sorts of scenarios. Virtualization is also great for making a computer (let’s say, filled with tax software) portable as you upgrade through the years. Given that virtualizing Windows requires another license, I have an idea how you might get that license for free. 

Is Anti-Virus Software Failing Us?

Microsoft Security EssentialsNews of Microsoft’s anti-virus product failing to receive a certification for effectiveness has been circulating on the Internet. The outfit running the tests is AV-TEST and they consider themselves the “Independent IT-Security Institute”. In previous certification tests, Microsoft’s anti-malware application scored high enough to be certified, but starting in September, the tool started failing the tests. On January 16th, Microsoft responded in a blog that vaguely attacked AV-TEST for poor testing methodology. Of course, AV-TEST responded to that. This is what seems like a tipping point, as many have started to seriously question the effectiveness of locally installed Virus Scanning applications. This idea of depending on virus scanning applications has been on my mind, and I wanted to flesh it out.

The Looming Office 2013 Pricing Debacle

As many of you know, all desktop client versions of Microsoft Office 2013 are going to see a price increase. Some of them, quite significantly so. With Office 2013 currently being released to manufacturing (RTM) and on track for a first quarter release date – many are wondering how much Office 2013 is going to cost, how high the increases are going to be and why Microsoft is raising prices on an already “cash cow” line of business. Since many business users still rely on the desktop Office application, they can’t (or won’t) move to the online Office 365 offering. I look at recent developments in a commonly used version of Office, in what’s shaping up to be a mess.