Category Archives: Reviews

Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro Vs Blue Eyeball 2.0 comparison

I wanted to get a webcam for my parent’s mac mini and was originally going to get them the same one that I had, (Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro) however I noticed at the Apple Store in Montreal that there was another HD webcam for $50 less. I decided to give it a try since the specs, and packaging looked promising. I had also looked at reviews online before purchasing it and they said it was good, only one compared it to the Logitech and said the Logitech was superior.  I found that the video is nothing like the Logitech and also the audio is quite low compared to the Logitech (with all the same settings). Since I could not find any video or photo comparison I have snapped a some pics and recorded some video from photo booth to demonstrate the difference. Hope you enjoy it.

Photo Booth Picture taken with Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro (Click on Picture for Full Size)
Photo Booth Picture taken with Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro (Click on Picture for Full Size)
Photo Booth Picture taken with Blue Eyeball 2.0 (Click on Picture for Full Size)
Photo Booth Picture taken with Blue Eyeball 2.0 (Click on Picture for Full Size)

Here is a video comparison of the two Webcams:

The importance of Computer Anti Theft Software

Last December my apartment was broken into and robbed. The thieves took Colognes, Coins, but most importantly they took my friend’s Macbook. It was at my house because I was repairing the screen’s backlight. When I first entered the apartment I was in shock and thought that maybe the landlord needed to get into the apartment, however I noticed cupboards were open and items missing. It took me a good ten to twenty seconds to accept that I had been a victim of burglary.I quickly called the Police, which only showed up five or six hours later. Since I’ve watched a lot of TV and Movies, I expected that the police would investigate. I was clearly wrong when I was just asked two or three questions and the officer left.

I quickly informed my friend that my apartment got robbed, and that his laptop was stolen. Thankfully he was not angry and told me he would just buy another laptop (what a good friend). However I still felt obliged to do something. I had assumed that if I gave the serial number to the local Apple Store, they could keep an eye out for it (since it needs to be repaired). The Apple Store employee informed me that Apple couldn’t do that unless the police have required them to do so. I quickly saw that anyone is susceptible to getting his or her computer stolen and wanted to be protect myself.

While others have used Back To My Mac to combat Macintosh thieves, that method is very iffy and is not structured to get your computer back. I quickly did some research and found two solid software choices. The first being Orbicule’s Undercover (which my friend had been using) and the Second Absolute Software’s Computrace LoJack for Laptops. Both Software suites offer theft recovery for your Macintosh (Lojack for laptops is also offered on Windows OS).

Undercover is a Native 64bit OS X program that takes full advantage of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.  Undercover is written specifically for Mac OS X and not ported over from Windows. When your computer goes missing, it is tracked using technology developed by Skyhook Wireless, which locates your computer within ten to twenty meters. Undercover also takes screenshots as well as pictures of whoever is using the computer (using the built in iSight Camera). If the computer cannot be recovered using tracking, it switches to Plan B. Plan B simulates a hardware failure by dimming the screen to pitch black (can not be reversed by the brightness buttons on the keyboard). This will hopefully make the thief sell the computer or try to have it fixed. Finally when the computer is out of the thief’s hands a full-screen message letting the person present know that this is in-fact a stolen computer and how to return it. As of July 10th 2009 Orbicule has an 86% recovery rate. Below are the current costs of Orbicule’s Undercover (as of Sept 9th, 2009)

License

Price

Single User

$49

Household (5 Macs)

$59

Site (25 Macs)

$249

Student

$39

Upgrade to Household from Single User

$16

Volume Education (100 Copies or more)

$9.99

Computrace Lojack for laptops is a subscription-based service. The standard service offers to track down and recover your stolen computer. The theft recovery team works gathers evidence and closely works with local police to retrieve your laptop. L4L comes in two flavors Windows and Mac. The Windows version embeds itself into the bios (if your computer’s bios supports that feature) making removal of Lojack very daunting even for the most equipped thief. The premium version of L4L offers the same standard service as well as the ability to remotely delete data, which comes in handy for people with sensitive data. Finally the premium version also offers a up to $1,000 service guarantee incase your machine can not be retrieved. Below are the current costs for Lojack for Laptops (as of Sept 9th 2009).

1 Year

3 Years

Standard

(Electronic Download)

$39.99

$89.99

Premium

(Electronic Download)

$59.99

$109.99

Standard

(Boxed Shipment)

$49.99

$99.99

Premium

(Boxed Shipment)

$69.99

$119.99

I have used both these software packages and completely forgot that they are running in the background securing my computer. That is a good thing because it makes them hard to detect. Even if a would-be thief can detect them they would still need the administrator password to delete them. If the thief wanted to get really crafty though he/she would try to format the computer, which then would remove the security program and the administrator password. Luckily though apple has built an Open Firmware Password Utility. This utility allows the user to set a password for protecting low-level access to your Macintosh computer. In layman terms, a person cannot boot from any device other than the main drive without entering the password. I recommend the following procedures to maximize the chances of retrieving your computer.

  1. Set an Open Firmware Password
  2. Setting up a Guest Account (System Preferences/Accounts)

By doing so, you give the thief the ability to use your computer in order to connect to the Internet and be traced, without any real danger of removing the theft recovery software.

Finally I wish I had thought of this software prior to being robbed. I now have my Mac pro equipped with Orbicule’s Undercover and Lojack for Laptops in our Band’s Crew Laptop. Honestly after this terrible experience, I now know that this can happen to anyone, and I’d rather be safe than sorry. A small and very reasonable investment in one of these two software solutions could have not only gotten my friend’s laptop back, but also found the thieves that robbed my apartment. I could have recovered most of my stolen property if not all, but most importantly they would be in jail stopping them from robbing again for a good while.  If you have any questions or comments please comment below and I will reply as soon as possible.

Telestream ScreenFlow Review

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Because of the rise of YouTube and video tutorials, screen-casting programs have become very popular. I have used screen capture programs in the past, however now they just don’t cut it. Screen-casting software not only captures, but it also allows editing. As a blogger, I sometimes create screen-casts tutorials, which require quick and painless publishing. I recently switched from PC to Mac because Macs make a lot of things easier to do. The main reason I believe this is because of Apple’s simplistic approach. I have started using Telestream’s ScreenFlow, which follows this simplistic approach (simple yet powerful). It had a very small learning curve of about five to ten minutes.

ScreenFlow Pre Recording Countdown (Click For Full Size Image)
ScreenFlow Pre Recording Countdown (Click For Full Size Image)

Features

ScreenFlow supports high-resolution screens with ease. If you have multiple screens ScreenFlow gives the option of selecting the required source. The feature that I believe differentiates ScreenFlow from all other Mac screen-casting software is the ability to “Callout” a window after recording is over. This is no simple zooming technique, it actually makes the window larger compared to everything else on the screen. This could be handy in case you did not know you want to Callout a window before finishing recording. One of my favorite things about ScreenFlow is the way it saves project files. Every project file contains all files needed to open the project in one package. That way files are not all over your hard drive. When you are constantly moving, copying, deleting, and creating new files having one file per project is helpful for organizational reasons.

ScreenFlow Workspace (Click for
ScreenFlow Workspace (Click For Full Size Image)

Support

When contacting Telestream’s support I always received a fast effective response, which shows the Telestream team is there to stand behind their product. I have found some small inconveniences that I have reported to Telestream hopefully they can accommodate for fixes soon (At the time of writing this post the version I am using is 1.5.2). Firstly you must add a video or audio effect for each clip separately, you cannot just drag it from one clip to another. When adding an additional recording with the “Close ScreenFlow before recording option” selected without saving the entire project prior. It will ask you to save the project, but then it won’t record you must to go back and select add additional recording again. Another feature I feel would make ScreenFlow even more amazing would be the ability to blur out personal information such as usernames and passwords. I have received a reply from the support team looking into all these issues for the next version.

As a screen-casting program ScreenFlow ticks off all the boxes I need. It is a very powerful yet easy to use program. I can create screen-casts fast. I am glad the Telestream team made it very simple and not a full-blown video editing solution. This way the application file size stays small (13 Megabytes), the program does not get too complicated, and performs what it does very well.  On a final note I noticed that Telestream have made this program amazing by building it systematically. First they got the basics down and slowly they add features as opposed to building it with all the features they can think of. That way the program not only works better, but also is formulated better. I would recommend it for any Mac user that needs to produce screen casts. You can Try and Buy ScreenFlow on Telestream’s Website ($99).

Ps. If you have any questions or are confused by anything in this review and would like an answer, please comment and I’ll do my best to respond.

Infolinks in-text advertising Review

So I have been using infolinks for one month and one day. The way I found out about this in-text advertising website was actually from my google adsense ads. I found an ad that said get paid better than adsense. So I copied the code into my address bar and figured out the website without clicking on the link (Clicking on your own ads is Against Google TOS). I signed up and was approved within a day or two. It was also easy to incorporate into my wordpress blog using HeHeHunter’s Infolinks WordPress Plugin. So far so good. For the first couple of days I made on average a little more than google adsense. However lately after my rework of my website I have found that I am making more from adsense.

I have a couple of thoughts on how infolinks could improve their ads, which in return will increase revenue for all infolinks publishers. First of all since google adsense is the most commonly known online advertising platform, it is also the most blocked ads (adblock, etc). So with that said users on my site get to see infolinks more than adsense. Which means adsense is earning me more money relatively speaking. What I believe is behind this is the generic look to their ads. Which makes me feel that it’s useless to click on these ads (see picture below). Most of the time that I have encountered infolinks ads they point to info.com which I think should be improved. Scratch that out, now its starting to be very different and various different ads are showing yay! With that said I can not complain much for a company that is paying me. I hope this review helps you if you are deciding to use infolinks in conjunction with adsense(Which is not against Google TOS), and helps infolinks figure out how to improve their ads, both to increase their own revenue as well as publishers. PS. I have not made enough money from infolinks to receive payments yet. Finally you can easily contact infolinks if you have questions or comments, as they have been prompt with me.

This is what I think is too generic about infolinks
This is what I think is too generic about infolinks

Upek Protector Suite 2009 Review

Today I had a nice email conversation with a nice gentleman at Upek, they requested that I remove the download of the 5.8.2 protector suite application and driver. They explained that it was because some users have to pay for this update. I gladly removed it as it is their property and was offered the chance to try their 2009 (version 5.9) for a test spin.

Continue reading Upek Protector Suite 2009 Review

Windows 7 First impressions

So i downloaded the beta of windows 7 just to try it out. My first impression is its much faster and more stable than vista. however ive only been using it for 15 mins. Even if it does end up being better than vista, im still switching to mac whenever i have the cash to buy a laptop. there have also been some visual changes such as the window tabs (if thats what its called). when vista first came out i thought it was amazing, why you might ask? because i was caught up in the glossy upgrade from xp, then i got past that and noticed it was the worst os ever created. so with windows 7 i’m going to be impressed with the glossy upgrades. if you have any questions just post them and ill answer