Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Keep Track of New Email with Gmail Notifier

Keep Track of New Email with Gmail Notifier: "

Opening a web browser and checking your Gmail account several times a day can become annoying. Today we look at a cool free utility that runs in the background and notifies you when a new message is received.

Using Gmail Notifier

Installation is quick and straight forward and once complete click on your language.


Then sign into your Gmail account.


Notice above there is a message to verify you have IMAP enabled. Log into your account and under Settings and Forwarding POP/IMAP section.


You can add multiple accounts to keep track of.

multiple mails

It sits quietly in the taskbar until you get a message.


Right-click on the icon in the Taskbar to get a menu of different options.


In Preferences you can change the way it notifies you and also notice that you can use Gmail for Mailto: links.


From the interface you can navigate your inbox, read email, mark it as read, and delete messages.



Hover over the sender to get their email address while reading the message.


If you are looking for a way to easily keep track of your Gmail accounts you might want to try this out.

Download Gmail Notifier

Microsoft Security Essentials is a Free Antivirus Utility

Microsoft Security Essentials is a Free Antivirus Utility: "

Microsoft Security Essentials is a free utility that provides real-time protection to identify and eliminate harmful viruses and other malware from your PC. Today we’ll take a look at how it performs and the protection it has to offer.

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is free Anti-Malware protection that replaces their previous “pay for” utility One Care. It has left beta and version 1.0 was released to the public yesterday. As with the beta we showed you before, this version provides real-time protection and runs quietly in the background. It actually runs a lot like the beta version and the user interface is the basically same.


Before installation make sure there is no other Antivirus or spyware application running on the machine. However, you don’t need to turn off Windows Defender, because MSE takes care of it for you.


You will have to validate your copy of Windows to be able to install and use Security Essentials.


The user interface is basic, simple, and easy to use. After installation it will update the virus definitions right away. After that it will update itself automatically in the background so once installed it truly is a “set it and forget it” process.


After the database is updated the computer status turns green. There are 4 tabs at the top that allow you to control different functions.


Under Settings you can choose what actions it should take with malware based on its threat level.


By default Real-time protection is enabled but if you want to disable it you want. The Real-time protection is light on system resources and doesn’t slow down other processes at all.


It shows a green icon in the notification area letting you know your system is protected.


Progress is displayed while a manual scan takes place and tells you the amount of time it takes. Scan times will vary between systems based on amount of files and hardware performance.


It works like most other Antivirus apps and lets you scan a single file.


If a threat is detected a red attention screen pops up in the Notification Area and you can clean the threat right away based on your recommended actions or find out more detail about the threat.


If you want more details, they actually provide a good amount of information on a threat. When in the details screen you can change the recommend action if you want and clean it from there.


During out tests we tried to download an infected file, but MSE stopped it and wouldn’t allow the download to continue unless manually selecting to ignore it. This is very nice so someone doesn’t ignore the warnings, click out of the screens, and try to download and install the app anyway.


For testing we ran this on the 32-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium but it will also work with XP and Vista. It is light on system resources and runs quietly without constantly popping up messages and annoying you. It does pop up a message when it matters though. If a threat is found it will pop up a red alert to let you know about the malware and decide what actions to take. It’s nice to have a free anti-malware utility that is easy to use and effective. While Microsoft doesn’t always offer the best security solutions, they seem to have gotten this one right.

Download Microsoft Security Essentials

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

IBM Lotus Symphony is a Free Alternative to MS Office

IBM Lotus Symphony is a Free Alternative to MS Office: "

In these tough economic times it can be frustrating or impossible to shell out a lot of money for MS Office productivity suite. Today we take a look IBM Lotus Symphony, which is a full suite of office apps built on Open Office technology and produces quality documents and presentations.

About Lotus Symphony

IBM Lotus Symphony is an office productivity suite that includes apps for creating documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. It is completely free of charge and is built on technology and supports Open Document Format standards. You can create the same great quality documents as you would with MS Office apps, use MS Office formatted documents, and it’s completely free.


Lotus Symphony Document

This is their word processing app that would replace MS Word. It has all of the tools you would expect from a quality word processing application and make make professional looking documents. Notice there is a single interface with tabbed sections for each program and / or document.


There are plenty of templates for various types of documents to choose from and download.


It includes a decent library full of clip art you can use in your document creation, and they offer more you can download from the site.


Save documents in in Open or MS formats.


Lotus Symphony Spreadsheet

This is a replacement for MS Excel and lets you create new spreadsheets or use built in templates.


Lotus Symphony Presentation

Presentation is their version of MS PowerPoint where you can create shows from scratch or preconfigured presentations.


Web Browser

Also included is a basic but handy web browser that will open up in a new tab. This comes in handy when downloading additional items from their site and for doing quick research while working on documents.



If you need a basic office suite then Symphony is a good choice as it can handle most tasks. It doesn’t include an email client or database app like MS Access, but if you need that you can use Base which is a free database program. Let’s take a look at a few of the other features available, including using MS documents with the open format of Symphony.

The entire suite opens up all documents using tabbed sections to make navigation easier.


You can associate Symphony with open document formats.


It will open up MS formatted documents…(.doc, .docx, .xls, .pptx) but you may lose some quality. I had little problem with documents I tested out and opened between the programs.



If you are working with another person who has Microsoft Office 2007 remember they can save their documents in Open Document format as well.


You can easily save documents, spreadsheets, and presentations to PDF format.


There are a lot of extra plug-ins you can download for additional functionality for all three apps.


If you get stuck there is a help section that will guide you through basic tasks.

15-ibm help

If you are a small business, student, or an individual with not a whole lot of extra money to spare, Lotus Symphony is a great way to get the professional office document results you need.

Download Lotus Symphony

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Imagine Running the Windows Operating System In Your Browser " Now u can "

Imagine Running the Windows Operating System In Your Browser: "

You have seen visual search in Bing, now here’s another Silverlight based site that might leave your impressed.

Windows OS – Made of Silverlight

windows os - made with silverlight

The site is and it feels like you are running an online copy of the Windows operating system in the browser. (Hit F11 to experience in full screen mode)

Windows4all not only replicates the look and feel of a freshly installed Windows Vista desktop environment inside your browser but comes with a variety of applications that are similar to the default applications included with Windows. These include Notepad, Windows File Explorer, Media Player, Calculator, Sidebar gadgets and even games like Solitaire and Spider.

Double click the IE icon on the desktop (or use the Vista start menu button) to fire up Internet Explorer and you’ll be able to browse the internet live inside this impressive Silverlight application.

It also includes a Notepad and when you save text files using this application, you can open the files again the next time you visit Windows4all on the same computer. You can install additional Silverlight applications into the Windows4all interface; you can pick the installers directly from from the internet or upload the files from your own computer into the Web OS.

windows desktop in the browser

If you are a Windows geek who is curious to know how this app was made, go to Codeplex and download the full source code. It would be neat if Microsoft offers some of these features, especially the ability to import Silverlight apps, to Live Mesh in the future!

Imagine Running the Windows Operating System In Your Browser

Friday, September 25, 2009

New Features in WordPad and Paint in Windows 7

New Features in WordPad and Paint in Windows 7: "

WordPad and Paint are often overlooked accessories included in all versions of Windows since 95. They are still included in Windows 7 and now have a new look with some enhanced features. Here we will take a look at some of the new improvements.

Classic WordPad

WordPad has always come in very handy as a quick and easy to use text editor for documents. Rather than opening up a new Word session to make simple adjustments, WordPad can save a lot of time. In fact it is all some users need to create basic letters and and other simple documents.


WordPad 6.1 w/ Ribbon UI

The new WordPad in Windows 7 includes the nicely laid out Ribbon interface which has been a feature in Office 2007 and in the forthcoming 2010. If you are new to the Ribbon, it does take getting used to, but once you do, you’ll wonder how you did without it before.


To access commonly used commands easier, just Right-click the button and choose “Add to Quick Access Toolbar”.


What may be considered the coolest new feature, it includes the ability to read and write documents to Office Open XML format, which supports Open Office (.odt) and IBM Lotus Symphony suites.


Like in pervious versions you can insert a Paint drawing.



Of course we would be remiss if we didn’t show the new Ribbon UI included in the new version of Paint.


Easier to access options for editing projects.


The main menu offers more choices for saving, printing images etc.


It looks like the Ribbon is around to stay and it’s nice to get uniformity between Windows applications. Paint and WordPad may seem like forgotten accessories, but the new look and improvements might warrant a second look.

How about you? We are curious how many of you still use WordPad or Paint and what you think about the new interface. Just leave us a comment and let us know.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Google Chrome Frame: A Canvas (and More) Plugin for Internet Explorer

Oh sweet: Google released a plug-in for Internet Explorer which brings Canvas and a couple of other things (like Chrome’s fast JavaScript engine) to Internet Explorer. It’s named Google Chrome Frame, and the “couple of other things” could act like a Trojan horse for Google in the future through updates of the plugin, but right now it helps old-fashioned IExplorer catch up on some of the web technologies of the recent years... by having it run Chrome’s WebKit-based rendering engine. For now the open source plug-in is released as an “early version intended for developers”.

In the past, there had already been a project by Google employees to port Canvas to IE named ExplorerCanvas (utilizing IE’s older VML technology), but it only worked well with static images, and was much too slow for animations. Google Chrome Frame on the other hand worked really nice during my tests. To give it a look, try running the little test I made and use Internet Explorer (version 6 upwards).

Note that Google’s plug-in, once installed by the user, will not make Canvas simply just work across all sites. First, the developer needs to insert the following meta tag into the head section of their page:

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="chrome=1" />

Either that, or the user can precede any URL with cf: ... and it basically tells the browser to act like Chrome. You can then use a script bit provided by Google to run the installation. This brings up a (cluttered) installation window (you probably want to set the optional “destination” parameter – I didn’t, and after the installation finished nothing happened and I had to manually refresh – and you may also be able to override the default prompt by configuring the other parameters).

Does this mean developers can now simply use Canvas instead of, say, Flash, for projects where Canvas would be a theoretical fit... without any negative side effects? Not really – because while Flash is deployed on many systems, Google Chrome Frame isn’t, so your Canvas site would thus still bring up a very sub-optimal plug-in installation notice. However, as an additional alternative to Flash for developers trying to make their Canvas app cross-browser, it’s nice to have (ExplorerCanvas in the meantime still makes sense for static vector graphics, because as opposed to Chrome Frame it does not require installation). And who knows, it might even further push Microsoft towards implementing Canvas in IE natively one of these days... just to avoid having developers push a Google plug-in to users.