Sunday, October 12, 2008

Modern CD burners test their boundaries

Hanover - Ten years ago, a computer with a built-in CD burner was a big deal. Owners could be sure to broader their circle of friends and music collection. A few technological leaps later meant it only took half an hour to burn a CD. Another few leaps have brought us to where we are now: an age where it only takes minutes to burn a CD. Multiformat disc burners for CDs and DVDs are standard issue, even in laptops, with the required software usually bundled in. "A burner and the necessary software are included with nearly every computer," says Jaroslav Smycek of the Lower Saxony Consumer's Central in Hanover. "Most people don't need to buy extra programs.

The average person planning to burn some discs should be fine with the pre-packed material."OEM versions of the software can copy CDs, burn music, archive photos and save personal data onto CD easily. But video storage can sometimes lead to problems.

But a lot of burning programs available for between 10 and 100 euros (14 to 140 dollars) can handle that kind of work. "These are all-around programs that usually fall into a completely different category than basic burning programs," says Martin Gollwitzer of the Munich-based Chip magazine. But there are drawbacks meaning the commercial software shouldn't necessarily be a customer's first choice. "The customer gets huge disc burning packages and never use many of the functions."It makes more sense for most people to stick with the basic burning software and buy a special program, if needed. Anyone who wants to edit video is better off with a video editing program, not with the accessories of some disc burning software."But even then, consumers don't necessarily need to buy expensive software.

"There's amazing freeware. It"s astounding what it can do."The freeware might not be able to compete with top-of-the-line software. "But the pre-installed OEM softwares can keep pace with and sometimes surpass the rest." Even market leader Nero finds itself outdone in some areas. "ImgBurn, RescueAgent or IsoBuster come out ahead of Nero, which is good, but expensive, in some areas," says Gollwitzer.

Jenny Menhart of Nero does not agree fully. "There are some features that freeware and the OEM versions just can't perform. Additionally, with purchased software, you can be sure that there will be support for problems and that everything is legally sound."On top of that, today's disc burning software does far more than just burn. "It secures data, it helps with manipulating audio and video, it restores data, it makes slide shows and lets you watch TV. The newest version of Nero has 21 applications."So, what are you allowed to burn? "As a general rule, you are allowed to copy for your own personal use, but not for commercial use," explains Thomas Lapp, a lawyer from Frankfurt am Main who specializes in information technology. "Anyone who wants to make a backup of their music or software is legally fine.

Even people who burn music for a partner or their parents are in the clear."But that's as far as those rights go. Burning copies for friends is not considered fair. "You cannot upload music to exchanges, not to mention selling burned CDs."There's another limitation. If you need to get around a copy protection to burn a copy, that's banned also. Smyzek says legal questions have been a problem for years. "No one knows for certain what 'personal use' means. It's especially dangerous with programs where you can get around a simple copy protection fairly easily, sometimes without the user even noticing."Technically, it's not a problem.

But legally it is. There is one upside: "A lot of music labels are doing away with copy protection because they realize they are driving away their customers."Nevertheless, CD and DVD burning is now commonplace, says Smycek. "Hardware and programs have matured. Blank discs have also gotten better."And what about the new Blu-ray format? 2There's already good software that's good at burning those new discs," says Gollwitzer. "

But, as a rule, we are at the stage with Blu-ray where we were a few years ago: stuff is happening, but none of it has matured. I would wait."Additionally, expensive blank Blu-ray discs for backups or transporting data might never take off. "You can get an 8 GB USB stick for 10 euros. Who's going to burn a disc?"

Thursday, August 28, 2008

AVGU Anti Virus & Anti Spyware 9

Publisher's description of AVGU Anti Virus & Anti Spyware

From Bokepma:

AVGU Anti Virus & Anti Spyware is free application to remove any virus and spyware on your PC. Remove any malicious program and virus suspected. This version is the first release on CNET


Norton AntiVirus 2008

Publisher's description of Norton AntiVirus

From Symantec:

Norton AntiVirus blocks viruses and spyware with advanced protection. It helps protect your entire computer by stopping viruses, spyware, and other security risks. Norton AntiVirus works in the background so you can surf the Internet, read the news, play games, and download software or music without disruption. It also scans and cleans all email and instant messaging (IM) attachments, preventing you from receiving viruses, or spreading them to others. With set-it and forget-it functionality, Norton AntiVirus checks for updates continuously and automatically blocks new and emerging threats from getting on your system. In addition to protection updates, Norton AntiVirus provides new product features as available throughout your service subscription. Version 2008 improves performance.

Note: The Download Now link will direct you to the developer's site where you'll be asked to provide your e-mail address to download a file.

Editor's review of Norton AntiVirus

  • 5.0 stars

  • "Norton remains strong"

Although Symantec provides users with a full-function 15-day trial of its Norton AntiVirus 2008 program, which is good, there are a few gotchas along the way.

One, to download, you must provide your name and e-mail address to Symantec. Two, you will be asked to load the Yahoo toolbar along with the demo Norton AntiVirus 2008 (we suggest you disable that). Three, you will be asked to provide name, address, and phone number before continuing (we found that by hitting Next three times, we were finally offered a Skip option).

Once installed, however, the protection provided by Norton is quite good, even excellent, removing viruses, spyware, and rootkits alike. We could do without the thick, oppressive interface, and wish there were more configuration options beyond enable or disable, and more documentation to explain these options. Finally, beware the premium services being offered in the technical support section; for example, having an expert remotely repair your computer could cost you $69.

There is an uninstall option within the Norton AntiVirus 2008 trial, although after our 15-day trial period ended, we needed to use the Norton Removal Tool to completely remove all traces. While companies often leave some data behind to prevent serial trial users, Norton leaves behind more registry changes and files than most.