Codeweaver Crises

Do you remember when K-Mart tried to boost revenue by offering free internet service? Well, in return it drove the corporation to bankruptcy. While free service seemed like a great idea, many people ran to the occasion causing much more costs than intended for K-Mart. The same has seemed to happen with software maker Codeweavers….

From Download Squad: It sure seemed like a good idea. CodeWeavers, the makers of CrossOver software that lets you run Windows applications like MS Outlook or games like Half Life on Mac andLinux machines, held a tongue-in-cheek promotion where the company promised to give away free copies of its software if one of a number of economic goals were met in the US. While it’s likely that the US government had little to do with the recent dip in gas prices, this week CodeWeavers decided that $2.79 gas meant it was time to give away a copy of CrossOver to anyone who wanted it within a 24 hour period.

And then all heck broke loose. The story made the front page of Digg and was reported on countless tech blogs. The CodeWeavers website crashed, although the company quickly got the download links back online. When the smoke cleared, the company gave away about 750,000 copies of its software. Let’s
let that sink in for a second here. A company that many people may not have even known existed, had its software downloaded three quarters of a million times in one day. CodeWeavers sent an email this week stating that the move expands the company’s customer base by 400%. The value of the free software given away tops $45 million.

In other words, the whole thing might have backfired and ruined the company’s bottom line. On the other hand, it could be awesome news in the long run for CodeWeavers. A whole lot of people who weren’t aware
of the software are now potential customers. Many of the people who downloaded free copies may not really wind up using it, but those who do may decide to upgrade when a new version is available or pay for
another year of support when the 1 year of free support expires in a year.

Still, CodeWeavers has decided to cancel the promotion going forward. There had been plans to do another giveaway if housing prices fell, US job numbers went up, or Osama Bin Laden was captured. But that just
doesn’t seem like a good idea anymore.

Free: Comodo Internet Security Suite

Comodo’s president Melih Abdulhayoglu believes that “Safe computing on the Internet should be a right, not a privilege.” He continues, “We are offering an advanced, intelligent Internet Security package at no
charge in order to promote a safer, trusted Internet for everyone
.”

The program’s main window is uncluttered and informative, providing a vitals like the status of protection systems and updates, and the present level of network activity. It also features links to quickly lock down your system or set the program to install mode (which tells it ramp down the activity alerts temporarily).

Its main program window presents the three major defense components: Antivirus, Firewall, and Defense+. Configuration options are plentiful on all three. The virus scanner supports automatic updates, flexible scheduling, multiple scanning profiles, excluded directories and files, and detailed logging.

As you’d expect, the firewall offers a myriad of rule and configuration options. Granting and revoking trust from applications, ports, and networks is a clear, simple process. Novice users will either want to leave the default settings alone or spend some time reading the detailed (and user-friendly) help files, as a couple of wrong clicks can quickly create networking headaches. An active connections screen is also available and it presents information similar to Sysinternals’ TCPview, providing insight as to which applications are transmitting or receiving data.

During the first launch, Comodo does a good job of determining which applications are safe to approve. Alerts are color coded, so novice users should pay special attention to any that appear in a red window.

What interested me most about CIS was the Defense+ system. It provides another layer of protection against malware, allowing users to specify trusted software vendors and files, folders, and registry keys that are to be protected. Any modifications to these files or keys (by a hijacker, for example) can’t occur unless authorized.

Adding a file, process, or driver to the blocked list makes it impossible to access by any user or process – unlike protected files, to which you can selectively grant permission. The program does its best to recognize new files automatically, but unknown ones are added to a pending list, which allows you query Comodo’s master database for more information or submit files for review.

Comodo Internet Security is exceeding my expectations, and I would recommend it for anyone that is after a unified solution for malware, virus, and intrusion defense. It’s a much more complete solution than other free apps like AVG, Avast, and Avira.

Install note: by default, Comodo will install the Ask toolbar and change your home page. Pay attention to the screens, and deselect them if you’re not interested.

Windows Live Wave Released

Joining the Microsoft family of user friendly applications comes Windows Live Wave beta 3. Aside from the applications that come bundled in Vista (Sidebar, Calendar, Photo Gallery, etc), I am very impressed with Microsoft’s initiative to release free user applications that do so well for free. The Windows Live suite is especially great for those still using Windows XP, that do not have the liberty to download or utilize the new applications included with Vista.

Windows Live Wave is an upgrade to the Windows Live Suite. WLW features Writer for Blogging, Mail with Calendar, Messenger, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Toolbar, and Family Safety. Of course, the installer grants you the ability to install only the applications you want.

Live Photo Gallery advantages over previous versions include:

  • the Vista-feel has been abandoned by reducing the bottom rotating/zooming/viewing functions to the bottom-right hand corner
  • the ability to tag your Messenger contacts or any person using “People tags” similar to MySpace (aka tagging)
  • Messenger Photo sharing imports shared images from Messenger in to Photo Gallery
  • Photo Gallery will join Windows Live Dev, allowing developers to develop plug-ins for the application
  • includes a new Publishing API that enables the community to build plug-ins for virtually any sharing service
  • In addition to stitching a panoramic photo, Photo Gallery now also integrates with the latest Photosynth technology

Live Movie Maker advantages and disadvantages over previous versions include:

  • lacks in basic features to make it actually useful
  • additional service integration and plug-in architecture for the future
  • ribbon UI similar to Office 2007 and to be coming in Windows 7 and the Paint beta
  • cross fade, black & white, and Sepia tone effects
  • Removed items (?): timeline editor, cropping, text overlays, audio mixing
  • Obviously Movie Maker is far from complete but already offers better output quality and an open API for future extendability

Windows Live Messenger advantages over previous versions include:

  • ability to store shared images to Windows Photo Gallery
  • new look, as well as many customizable UI features (change contact layout, etc)
  • Shared Folders has been replaced by Online Files
  • “What’s New?” RSS feed integrated
  • “Favorites” group to sort contacts to

This article was constructed with the new Windows Live Writer, along with several free plug-ins available at http://gallery.microsoft.com

Anti-Malware Toolkit

Get Anti-Malware Toolkit here!

It is a never ending battle to protect yourself from the ever increasing threat of ad-ware, malware, spyware, and viruses. Everyday new variants are unleashed in to the internet making our chances of infection greater than ever. The most protective measures we can take is to arm ourselves with protection software. While some are good for protection purposes, some are well served to help remove problems from our systems.

Anti-Malware Toolkit is a tool to download protective software. While it does not protect or clean, it does download the tools and utilities to do so. AMT downloads the latest versions of Super Antispyware, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, HijackThis, Spybot, Autoruns, CCleaner, LSP Fix, and several applications to keep us safer (Firefox, Thunderbird).

Direct X 11 Details

My thoughts: Less and less do I find myself paying any care (or money) to developers latest projects…. as I feel I have wasted enough interests and money already on poor technologies…. but this from Tweak Guides:

Microsoft has officially announced details of DirectX 11.0, the successor to the current DirectX 10 API. DirectX 11.0 will be backwards compatible with DX 10/10.1 hardware, will be Vista-only, and will allow for a range of additional features including support for tessellation, multi-threaded resource handling improvements and use of the GPU as a parallel processor. A release date is not yet provided.

My Smartphone Woes

While my Moto Q with Windows Mobile 5 seems to be the snazziest and most pda resourceful phone I have ever had, there has also been woes come along with it.

 

Windows mobile DOES NOT support the following, contrary to popular belief

  • JAVA
  • Flash
  • Office Mobile (Word, Excel, Powerpoint)
  • GPS

What is included are Office Mobile viewers. These enable you to open and view documents, spreadsheets, and presentations without the option to edit or create new files. There are alternatives in minor form such as Documents to Go, SharpXT, and Mobile Wordpad.

JAVA is possible via a JAVA emulator. While this does not function for gaming (even games with the correct 320×240 landscape resolution), this does enable us to run Opera Mini 4 nicely, and other applications that may suffer other issues.

There is a Flash hack…. I would not recommend it at all.

While developer codes allow you to enable GPS settings, there is no true GPS support (even in Google Maps). The GPS function is solely programmed for 911 communication only.

 

Hardware wise, I have experienced other issues

  • My battery dies within 8 hours of no use, even after the official Motorola update that supposedly fixes battery and power issues
  • Pressing “Down” on my direction pad several times results in my model trying to dial the digit 8
  • Many other users have had many other issues. So far the best fix is to submit your Moto Q for repair, resulting most likely in a replacement.

 

All of this started shortly (one month) before Sprint announced the discontinuation of the Moto Q and Q9c models, shortly followed by Verizon Wireless. My warranty is extended, and I am unable to get a discount on a phone for another year.

It seems to be that my only hope could be that my phone does malfunction fully and there are no more Moto Q’s available for replacement, where as I may get the option to switch to a Palm based phone as an alternative.

Carpe diem: let the buyer beware. I DO NOT recommend this model for both hardware and software issues.

Encryption Chip Will End Piracy, Says Atari Founder

At yesterday’s Wedbush Morgan Securities conference, Atari founder Nolan Bushnell claimed that a stealth encryption chip will “absolutely stop piracy of [PC] gameplay.” “There is a stealth encryption chip called a TPM that is going on the motherboards of most of the computers that are coming out now,” explained Bushnell, according to a GamesIndustry report.

“What that says is that in the games business we will be able to encrypt with an absolutely verifiable private key in the encryption world–which is uncrackable by people on the internet and by giving away passwords–which will allow for a huge market to develop in some of the areas where piracy has been a real problem.” Piracy has been a hot-button issue in the PC gaming industry for some time now, with renowned PC developers such as Crytek, id, and Epic claiming that the high rate of pirated PC software forced them to put games on other platforms.

Read more about this story at ShackNews