Simply speaking, VOIP has become a means to make calls from your PCs to all kinds of devices. Here is a list of short reviews of the best of VOIP software programs out there.
In the large field of VOIP software, Vonage (also UK edition) is already quite a bit known. It is also one of the best services out there. The Vonage VOIP plans start at 9 dollars per month. The system has a box known as Vonage box that works with your broadband modem in order to bring unlimited calling worldwide.
There are a lot of included and add-on features for Vonage service, including call management, voicemail, simultaneous ringing on five phones, enhanced call forwarding, virtual numbers, Fax, extra lines, toll free numbers, etc.
is a VOIP software program with business focus. It is feature-rich with quite a number of features listed here. You can also buy VOIP software phones from Nextiva at affordable prices. Nextiva has a number of plans at affordable prices.
Nextiva’s NextOS VOIP software makes it possible to conduct business easily. The company offers customer support features through its telephony service and that makes the VOIP program quite attractive to business customers out there.
VOIP solution has been around for quite some time. This piece of VOIP software also has almost all the features provided by the others mentioned. They include toll free numbers; call management functions; voicemail; apps for Android, iOS, BlackBerry, etc.; multiple extensions; speed dial; texting; web conferencing; etc.
You can get US and Canada local numbers with eVoice VOIP program. The pricing starts at 9.95 USD per month. The excellent features and affordable price tag make eVoice an excellent VOIP software application.
Here is another piece of VOIP software that is excellent and feature-rich. PhonePower has these featuresâ€”long distance (outgoing) to various countries including Canada, Puerto Rico, etc., toll free number, caller ID, voicemail, SMS, call return, call transfer, call blocking, email, virtual phone number, mobile app, etc.
The service also provides VOIP hardware that can be connected directly to your broadband modem.
PhonePower is hence a great all-in-all VOIP software solution.
2. Ring Central
Looking for another VOIP software application? Here’s Ring Central. This is a cloud-based business telephony system with these major featuresâ€”toll free numbers, local numbers, caller ID control, Softphone (call management from the computer itself), unlimited texting, voicemail, MS Outlook integration, call management features (forwarding, answering, intercom, etc), cloud-based PBX, conferencing, internet FAX, etc.
The major features of this VOIP software program are listed here.
Ring Central plans start at $ 19.99 per month and are perfect for businesses. This makes Ring Central our second best VOIP software application.
, a Microsoft product, has been around for a long time before Microsoft acquired the service. It is not only available for all sorts of Windows PCs, but also Android, Apple iOS, Linux, OS X, Symbian, Windows Phone, etc. Windows Live Messenger is also merged with this VOIP software. By 2012, about 34 percent of the VOIP software market is in Skype.
The application has all sorts of features, including calls to landline and mobile phones, caller ID, SMS, Voicemail, chatting, Skype online number, video-calling, screen sharing, etc.
Skype also has a portable version that you can take anywhere with you.
You can see there are a huge number of VOIP software programs out there. Among them, it is difficult to spot the best. This list may help you in your search.
After you purchase a new computer, you may set up a new operating system, Windows 7 or Windows 8. Probably the system comes with the OS preinstalled. But the real job comes after this. You will have to change the system settings, install your important programs from the previous computer, and create an environment that looks exactly like your old PC. This is a time consuming, tedious, mind-numbing job, if you know what I mean.
Is there a way to automate this process? Is there a way to transfer all your programs and settings with a few clicks at best? Is there a great way to get your new PC behave exactly like your old one out of the box? There is.
Laplink PC Mover Pro is a Windows application that will transfer all your settings from old computers to new ones. Here, watch this animation:
Moving your programs and settings from the old PC to the new one is as simple as a few steps.
1. Install Laplink PC Mover on both computers first. The installation is pretty straightforward, like installing any regular application. You may need to restart the computer after the installation.
2. Open up PC Mover application and you will find the wizard that will guide you in an easy transfer of files and software between systems.
Select the appropriate option: PC to PC Transfer (self-explanatory); Windows Upgrade Assistant (If you are upgrading from old version of Windows, Windows XP/Vista/7 to Windows 7 or Windows 8); PC Mover and Image Drive Assistant (If you are trying to restore from an old image or an old hard drive).
You may see security alerts from Windows, and you should allow PC Mover to run. Also, it is recommended that you disable the firewall on the receiving system, so that the transfer of application programs and settings from the old PC happens smoothly.
Requirements and Limitations
When upgrading from the old PC to the new PC, when you transfer files and applications, PC Mover shows you the important requirements and limitations on this page.
These are also self-explanatory. Sometimes, the new operating system on the new PC may not support an application on the old computer, and hence it may not work. Sometimes, the system requirements of a program may not be met correctly on the new computer. Drivers tied to some hardware on the old computer may not compatible with the new PC and may not be transferred thus.
These warnings and basic steps you need to do, such as disabling firewall, are shown on this page.
As the next step, select how you will connect the old PC to the new oneâ€”over Wi-Fi, Ethernet cable (Laplink), or the Laplink USB cable. You can buy cables from Laplink itself or from any regular computer shop.
Notifications and Customization
You can get proper notifications from the application about the completion of the task, via SMS or email.
Also, you can configure the transfer options, either Standard or Advanced. Within Advanced transfer, you have more control over the transfer and set more options on user accounts, applications, drives, folders, etc.
There are advanced customization options for each of these settings, and the application gives you complete control over how you want to set up the new PC.
As the final step of transferring files between your old computer and the new one, it shows the progress dialog.
This is where the actual work is being done. Depending on the size and complexity of applications and settings on your old computer, the transfer can take minutes to several hours to complete. Once done, as mentioned earlier, the notification will come, and the program will show this finish dialog.
PC Mover Advantages
PC Mover is the best upgrade companion to Windows. Here are a few advantages of the application.
It takes care of all applications and settings on your old PC and transfers them to the new one. In order to do the same task with a computer support company or executive, you will have to spend a lot more and it will take days.
Doing it yourself is one option, but it takes a lot of your valuable time.
Doing it yourself may also cause some unnecessary, unneeded issues.
The application is pretty easy to install and work with, and it gives extensive configuration options.
There are also other options that help you in easy upgrade to Windows 8 or Windows 7.
The one disadvantage is that the application doesn’t seem to be available for Mac OS X yet.
With PC Mover, and other related Laplink applications, upgrading or transferring software and settings to a new PC becomes easier than ever. This automated PC set-up tool is one of the most unique out there.
Are you a fan of Apple Macintosh computers? Do you run Mac OS X Lion or Mountain Lion? Are you planning on upgrading to Mavericks? You should be wondering about the viruses, malware, and Internet security on Apple Macintosh systems. It is appalling to know that there are many threads online talking about antivirus on Mac, and some so-called â€˜experts’ say there is no need for an antivirus on Macintosh.
They couldn’t be more wrong. Although there are very few viruses affecting Mac in comparison to PC, there are. Viruses and malwares are increasing in the Mac domain as well, and Apple is getting concerned about them quite a bit. Hence, it is imperative that you install an antivirus and Internet security application on your Mac computer. Recently, NYTimes Bits posted about widespread virus attacks on Macintosh.
Here is an image showing the major malware and viruses on Mac.
In this time, you very much need to get a very good antivirus and Internet security application for Macintosh. One of the best out there is Intego Mac Internet Security 2013 .
The application supports Macintosh systems, OS X 10.6 or later (Snow Leopard or later). Needs 1.5 GB of hard disk space and installs in French, German, Japanese, and Spanish besides English.
The application should be updated frequently over the Internet as well.
Mac Internet Security is also available as a free trial option.
The application provides protection against not only Mac viruses, but also Windows viruses, Trojans, Worms, hack tools, spyware, adware, keyloggers, and fake security applications.
Since it detects and prevents Windows viruses as well, it prevents your Mac from being a carrier of Windows viruses and thus infect other Windows computers that connect to it.
Other standard features of the application include scheduled scans, real time protection, frequent virus updates via the Internet, scanning options on file attachments on Mac mail, etc.
There is a special iOS edition of the antivirus, that can be installed to your iPhone or iPad to protect them from viruses and malware.
It can work exactly like an Internet Security suite on Windows and can scan all the installed programs on your Mac and find out any suspicious application behavior. This keeps a log of rogue applications, if any, and keeps monitoring all installed and new applications to make them work properly.
Intego has a number of personal and business security products priced very reasonably. If you have a Macintosh computer, you are fortunate that you won’t have too many viruses or malware. However, this is no consolation at all. Every day Mac is getting more and more popular, and hence virus coders and hackers are getting interested in the OS.
They have been successful in finding several security holes on the OS. Hence, it goes without saying that you should secure your Mac operating system with an antivirus.
A webcam, your webcam, may be secured unlike any of the public ones you may find. However, there are hackers out there who can easily get access to your webcam and feed it to the world. It is not at all difficult for them. With a bit of code, hackers can access any piece of hardware on your computer, and a webcam is no different.
How serious are the consequences of exposing your webcam? Well, if you have children at home and you want to protect their privacy, you cannot be serious enough about this. Your webcam should be yours and you should have complete control over it. There was a recent investigation by BBC, about a Finnish hacker who hacks and sells people’s webcams for money. Here is the webcast.
The impact of this is heavy on all of us. These webcam feeds could easily be sold to online porn sites or to people who are into sick stuff. It is the privacy of people like you and we that is at stake. Hence, I have compiled this article to let you know how to secure your webcam from external threats.
Here’s another video from BBC, showing exactly how easy it is to hack into webcams of old, infrequently updated computers:
Pretty disturbing, ain’t it?
How to Secure Your Webcam?
Hackers will always try to find out your webcam and get control over it. You may not quite realize whether your webcam is in use or not. Most of the webcams come with the indicator LED that turns red or green or something when it is engaged. This should be known to you as the user. Here are the most important steps to do if you suspect your webcam could be under attack.
1. Update Your Software
Some computer technologies, such as Java, Flash, etc., can be used to directly control your webcam, and on most of these technologies, you need to provide permission to access your webcam. However, there are ways in which a hacker can work his way around this permission-giving. They can dupe unsuspecting users into giving permission through click-jacking or similar methods.
Updating your software is one of the most important things to do to stay secure. You may remember the recent security attack on Java, and the subsequent alarm. Old computers are extremely vulnerable and could in essence become part of botnets.
2. Use Security Software
We have recently covered some of the best and worst security apps for Android. You should check them out. For a regular PC, use something like Kaspersky, Norton, Trend Micro Titanium, or Bitdefender. I would personally recommend Norton and Kaspersky for antivirus and firewall. You also need an antimalware solution, and Malwarebytes is the best one for that. They have a free edition that you can run alongside your antivirus and firewall. As an additional thing, keep your security software updated all the time, just as you do with regular software.
3. Be Suspicious About Web Apps
You may come across a huge number of web apps on a day of browsing. You may cruise through the bad neighborhoods of the Net; you may come across websites and forums that follow unethical practices. You may be asked to run specific programs or apps that promise various things, such as a free virus scan, registry cleaning, computer protection, etc. These are possible click-jacking methods to make you install a malicious piece of software on your computer.
Make it a point to scan every file you download from the Web, and make sure you don’t open suspicious attachments even if they come from your friend. In short, do not execute a program or a script without verifying its source and scanning it with your antivirus program. Also, be suspicious about the people who promise technical help through the Internet. You may be asked to accept a remote connection or a screen sharing option. Do not give permission to these setups unless you are sure.
4. Wireless Security
If you are using wireless router at home for a Wi-Fi setup, please enable proper security on the router. If you are using Wi-Fi from a public hotspot, you should be wary of your situation. Use a solution like Wifisugar to protect your computer from public hotspot hackers.
These are some of the most basic things to do to secure your webcam. However, two of the most important that you definitely have to do and are in your control are: first, not placing the webcam in a private place like your bedroom; and second, covering your webcam with something like a strip of electrical tape or disconnecting it from the computer altogether when you are not using it.
Another important thing that I would like most of the readers to consider is getting some information about how hackers work and what technologies and software you use are vulnerable to attacks. This information will keep your computer secure from every threat.
It was a fine morning in January that 72 year old Tami Fletcher went to the Radioshack Store in Long Beach, New York and purchased an upgrade to her old laptop running Windows. She had a Dell laptop of nearly ten years old that was running Windows XP Media Center edition.
In the recent times her applications and the Internet connection have been slowing down unnecessarily, and she was not able to display some web pages properly. A friend of hers suggested that she upgrade her laptop’s hardware and get the latest Windows. This was what drove her to Radioshack.
When she got the laptop back after three days, with the necessary hardware upgrade and Windows 8, she was quite happy, until she reached home, turned on the laptop, and found herself wondering where all her stuff went. She was specifically told that none of her stuff would be lost in an upgrade, but she was looking at what was completely new to her. And there was no way old Tami could get herself acquainted with the new Windows.
This is not a single incident. A difficult learning curve in getting around the new Windows 8 has been reported by millions of people, who purchased the upgrade from different parts of the world. Within the first six months of releasing Windows, it was purchased by over 100 million people, the same kind of attention and popularity as garnered by Windows 7.
The problem began soon. Microsoft started receiving calls and messages regarding how absurd the new Windows operating system was and how difficult it was to learn to use it properly. This is one of the reasons why the Windows team is developing an update to the OS, right now codenamed Blue. Let’s check it out in detail.
What Was Wrong With Windows 8?
A huge number of popular features were removed from Windows 8 due to the fact that the operating system primarily supports Microsoft’s mobile user interface for Windows Phone and Windows RT. Microsoft wanted to have a unique user interface across all these different form factors, and that was the reason why they pushed Windows Phone’s Metro UI in Windows 8 for desktop as well. But that probably did not help the company out greatly.
A brief look at the features missing on Windows 8 alone will convince you why people are bothered about this upgrade. One of the most important features missing in Windows 8 is the vintage Microsoft Start button. People really need this to feel at home in a Windows PC. While millions of users of this operating system are not technically savvy, they have grown accustomed to the familiar Windows interface that was retained even in Windows Vista and 7.
While Windows 8 is perfect for touch interfaces, most people still want this OS to support a mouse and keyboard, and they want that Start button. When they don’t find it, they simply complain.
Another feature missing is the Windows Media Center, which was provided as an add-on up until Windows 7. There are many old customers who are still using Media Center.
The OS comes with a brand new user interface that many old customers find annoying. What Microsoft should have done from the beginning was to make the regular Windows desktop the primary part of the UI and then make the Metro an add-on. Many people flipped out looking at the new user interface and had no clue what they were looking at. This was to be expected. While mobile phones and tablets can have that different kind of UI, a desktop computer must have its familiar interface, or there will be backlash from everywhere.
With that huge number of customer complaints and feedback, Microsoft realized that they made a mistake at least in the case of the desktop operating system. This was the motivation behind Windows’s upcoming update known as Blue.
On , TechNet had a blog post by Frank X. Shaw, Corporate VP of Corporate Communications of Microsoft that Announced the existence of Blue.
On , Microsoft’s Chief Marketing and Financial Officer to the Windows and Live division, Tami Reller made an announcement about the new developments to Windows 8. She said, â€œThe learning curve is real and needs to be addressed.â€ This has been the first time that Microsoft has realized how important it is to satisfy the old customers, especially the ones who install Windows 8 on non-touch devices. The details were published by the Microsoft Windows blog by Brandon LeBlanc as an interview with Tami Reller. Microsoft did forget that huge customer base as soon as tablets and smartphones started encroaching into the PC market and pushed down the sales strongly.
Windows Blue is a strategic upgrade to Windows 8. It has been known to address a few of the important issues that created widespread negative feedback from customers toward Windows 8. Although over 100 million licenses of it were sold, that makes up for only 3.8 percent of the overall PC market (click to enlarge).
In the above blog post, it has been mentioned that over 2400 devices run Windows operating system. While most of the new devices (tablets and touch laptops) are touch-based (like HP Envy, Acer Iconia, and some others) , there are a huge number of regular PCs, including the ones that come with CRT monitors that cannot use touch capabilities of Windows 8. Hence, as a first step, Microsoft Blue will address the regular Windows interface on these devices. It should essentially push the regular Windows interface on non-touch devices and Metro UI to touch-based devices.
What’s New to Blue?
We don’t have any confirmation as to what will be the new things that Blue implements. However, on , a Microsoft-centered community called Microsoft Portal gave us this image:
This is an indication that the next update of Windows 8 may include a way to boot directly to the regular desktop mode rather than the tiled Metro UI. One of the major complaints from users was that there was no way for them to boot to the regular desktop mode as in Windows 7. With Blue, if this gets fixed, people may like the OS more.
Microsoft is gearing up toward the Build conference in June, between and , in the Moscone Center, San Francisco. It is expected to be in this conference that more details of Windows Blue will be made available.
Three important aspects that Tami Reller has mentioned that Microsoft Blue will address are the touch interface, addressing feedback from customers, and new form factors. One thing Blue will incorporate is the ability to resize the tiles in the Metro interface. Tiles can be made as small as one fourth or as large as fourth their original size. The customization tools also include ways to change color, looks and other properties of tiles. These enhancements could make the tiled interface friendlier in touch-based systems.
Windows, although is available on smartphones and large tablets, has not yet addressed small tablets in the 7-inch range, dominated by Apple iPad Mini, Google Nexus 7, and Amazon Kindle Fire. With Blue, it is expected that this flaw may be addressed.
A number of recent leaked builds have given us indications as to the presence of the following features on Blue:
Support for ReFS (Resilient File System), Miracast (a Wi-Fi method to screencast), NVM Host Controller Interface (a way to standardize the device drivers for SSDs, Solid State Drives), Universal Flash Storage.
Apps and updates: Internet Explorer 11, calculator, alarm clock, sound recorder, file manager, and video editor.
The start screen has been revamped to include: more color options, size options, ability to lock tiles in place, â€˜all apps’ section, etc.
Something called kiosk mode in which the entire device can be made into a metro app.
Better integration to SkyDrive, more syncing settings with other devices, and more options in Bluetooth keyboards and mice.
As you can see, there are a huge number of updates and improvements expected in Blue. If these developments change Windows user experience in a positive way, there will be hope for Windows desktop operating system.
It was proclaimed early in the year that Windows 8 surpassed 60 million sales across all-in-ones, PCs, laptops, and tablets. A few days ago, that number reached 100 million licenses. In the PC marketplace, Windows stands out as the biggest operating system. However, this is one of the major reasons why Microsoft cannot sell large user interface modifications to the operating system. That move will only alienate users from their familiar operating system, especially since a huge user base of Windows consists of non-techie customers.
With Blue and further developments in Windows 8, Microsoft may probably be able to turn the tablet and tablet PC industry in its favor. We will gather more information and update as necessary.