New Google Maps version of EARTH ALERTS

August 30, 2010

How would you like to monitor, in near real-time, natural events (such as hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, cyclones) that occur here on mother earth? You can with the Google Maps version of Earth Alerts.

Earth Alerts

Before I go further, I must give credit where credit is due. The Google Maps version of Earth Alerts is actually an offspring to the software version of Earth Alerts.

Earth Alerts is a Windows-based application that allows you to monitor in near real-time a variety of natural hazard events that are occurring anywhere around the world. Alert notifications, reports, and imagery provide the user with a convenient way to view natural phenomenon as they occur, whether close to home or some far-flung corner of the globe!

Earth Alerts uses a variety of online resources provided by organizations such as the National Weather Service, U.S. Geological Survey and Smithsonian Institution (just to name a few), to identify what sort of activities “Mother Earth” is currently dishing out on the planet. [MORE]

To use this offspring (cloud based) version Earth Alerts, simply visit, in your browser, the Google Maps version of Earth Alerts [HERE]. Once loaded into your browser you are presented with a map of the world with icons depicting current (or recent) alerts; plus, many drop down options and layers to enhance your experience. For example, the U.S. is currently monitoring several hurricanes in the Atlantic. With the Google Maps version of Earth Alerts you can monitor and track the strength, locations and the direction these hurricanes are tracking.

Earth Alerts

In this particular case, by clicking on any of the hurricane alert symbols you can gather current information that is provided by the Weather Underground.

Weather Underground

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Prices Dropping on SanDisk Cruzer 16 GB Flash Drives

August 30, 2010

I have been noticing that if you look around, you can find a 16 GB SanDisk Cruzer Drive in the $25.00 range. As a matter of fact, at the time of this post, Amazon had one [ CLICK HERE ] listed for $22.99 plus shipping and handling. I can remember when the 16 GB SanDisk Cruzer drives were going for a whole lot more.

SanDisk Cruzer

I have been a user of these little retractable (dependable) drives for years and the 16 GB drive at those prices are looking real good to me. These drives are great for putting your computer on a stick (with portable apps) and for off site file storage.

With USB ports on computers, to new ports popping up on cars, DVD players, TVs, photo frames, and more, the need for a fast and reliable way to share your digital content on a moment’s notice is greater than ever.

The SanDisk® Cruzer® USB Flash drive meets that need. This reliable flash drive fits in the palm of your hand and gives you the storage capacity you need to store and transfer up to 16 GB of data.

While the drive is optimized for laptops and devices with USB 2.0 port, it is backwards compatible with older devices that have USB 1.1 ports, so you can be assured of near universal compatibility.

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A FREE Magnifier for Your Computer

August 30, 2010

If you, or someone you know, is visually impaired; or you are like me, getting weak in the eyes, then give OneLoupe a try.

OneLoupe is a software driven virtual magnifier for your PC that works just like a real magnifying glass. There is no install file to OneLoupe. Simply download and run (less than 40K file size).

Once you have OneLoupe up on the screen, you can use the following commands (in the screenshot) to manipulate how OneLoupe works. For example, when I use OneLoupe, I will use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out, will hit the letter “T” on the keyboard to minimize OneLoupe to the system tray and will use the “left-right-up-down arrow keys” on the keyboard to change the dimensions of OneLoupe.

Screenshot

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A FREE Program To Remove Unwanted Apps

August 29, 2010

Today I was at a loss on what to write about when Big Geek Daddy served up an app to me, called IObit Uninstaller.

Big Geek Daddy is a helpful and humorous website where both the Computer Geek and the Average PC User can find information about computing and Internet use as well as hundreds of Funny Videos.

 IObit is always on the move with numerous apps, some paid and some FREE; and, IObit Uninstaller is one of their freebies (i.e. Advanced System Care, Smart Defrag, IObit Toolbox to name a few).

What you are going to find with IObit Uninstaller is that it is a third party uninstaller similar to Revo Uninstaller. The “cool factors” with IObit’s Uninstaller is there is no software to install (simply download and run); it will uninstall toolbars (hooray); there is a “standard” uninstall process (like Windows) and an advanced (more aggressive) uninstall process; AND, if you find the app you want to uninstall is not listed, you can use IObit Uninstaller to help you find and remove the app.

IObit Uninstaller

When you first run an app such as this, remember “patience”. It will take a minute for it to poll your system and collect the information that it needs to make the magic happen.

Operating Systems Supported

Microsoft® Windows® 7 (32-bit and 64-bit) Starter/ Home Basic/Home Premium/Professional/Ultimate

Microsoft® Windows® Vista (32-bit and 64-bit) Starter/Home Basic/Home Premium/Business /Ultimate

Microsoft® Windows® XP (32-bit and 64-bit) with SP2/SP3 or Home/Professional/Media Center

Microsoft® Windows® 2000 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Hardware Requirements

300 MHz processor or faster processor
256 MB of RAM
30 MB of free hard disk space

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Upload Files to VirusTotal Directly from Windows Explorer

August 28, 2010

VirusTotal is an online service, that is available to you (for FREE), that analyzes suspicious files and URL’s. Typically, to use the service you visit VirusTotal [ HERE ] and upload the file in question or enter the questionable URL (web address). VirusTotal will go to work scanning the file against numerous antivirus engines OR will go to work reviewing any URL you submit using multiple analysis tools.

VirusTotal

I know you are thinking, why would I need to do this, especially when I already have security software installed on my PC that will automatically check my files for me?  It is like this, when we go to the Doctor for something that is suspicious, it is best to get a second opinion.  In the case of a suspcious file, VirusTotal is that second opinion.

I have been a user of VirusTotal for a long time; however, I often wondered; “Is there way to upload a suspicious file to VirusTotal and get a result without having to go through the steps of opening my browser and actually going to the VirusTotal site to upload the file?”.

You have probably heard myself and some of the other Techs comment; “If you can think it, someone has done it!”. The answer to that question is “yes”.  It is called VirusTotal Uploader.

VirusTotal Uploader

After you install VirusTotal Uploader, you simply right-click any file under 20MB, in Windows Explorer, and choose “VirusTotal” from the Send To Windows menu. The scan results will display in your browser as usual.  Wow, what a neat concept…

VirusTotal Uploader

As someone that loves testing free and open source software, I will often pipe the install file to VirusTotal to make sure all is right.  One thing to keep in mind is that there are occasions where “false positives” will occur with a service such as this; however, VirusTotal will help keep you security conscious and on your toes.

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Time Magazines’ 50 Best Websites of 2010

August 26, 2010

As we continue to move more toward cloud computing here is a sampling of some of the best websites of 2010, as selected by Time Magazine (in Partnership with CNN). 

webclip

A “What’s On My PC…” Web Clip!

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The Best in the Online World

image

August 25,2010

From the helpful to the distracting, the big hitters to the unknowns, TIME offers a road map to the best of the Web More »

Time Magazine

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Computer Tutorial Site Based On Pictures

August 26, 2010

Have you ever heard that saying, “What do I have to do, draw you a picture?”.  Well, when it comes to computers, I say “YES”!

Years ago when I was managing a network where I was the jack of all trades, master of none, I was tasked with getting people onboard with Microsoft Office.  Keep in mind, this was a time when people had just mastered the learning curve for WordPefect, the defacto wordprocessing program at the time.  One thing I learned during this transition was to use good instructions and pictures. As they say, “a picture speaks a thousand words” and it is in those pictorial words that the end user can relate to.

I came across a website, called “In Pictures” tutorials, that does exactly what I liked to do and that was make computer tutorials (or instructions) based on pictures, not words.

In Pictures

The site currently offers up tutorials focused on the Microsoft Office products, Openoffice.org, Web Layout and Web Programming. I do not know if this is an ongoing project or not; but, it is a good “BASIC” resource, to get you started, if you need some assistance in the areas mentioned.

You can get to In Pictures Tutorials [ HERE ] .

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