software

Facebook gets attacked again.

Over the last few days, Facebook users have been experiencing a flood of links, videos, and images depicting pornography, violence, and a myriad of unseemly images. Facebook confirmed the problem, in short, stating it was hit by a coordinated spam attack leveraging a browser vulnerability.

 

Some members of the social network are complaining about violent and/or pornographic pictures showing up in their News Feeds without their knowledge. Others are being told by their friends that they are sending requests to click on links to videos, sending out bogus chat messages, or writing mass messages and tagged photos leading people to believe they are in the link.

 

We’ve seen this type of spam on Facebook before, but it’s coming in at a much faster pace. According to the company, this spam attack all started with users being tricked into pasting and executing malicious JavaScript in their browser’s URL bar. Facebook says it has been shutting down the malicious pages and accounts that attempt to exploit this flaw and has been giving users guidance on how to protect themselves. Overall, the company claims it has managed to drastically reduce the rate of the attack, but didn’t elaborate with actual numbers.

 

“Protecting the people who use Facebook from spam and malicious content is a top priority for us, and we are always working to improve our systems to isolate and remove material that violates our terms,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “Recently, we experienced a coordinated spam attack that exploited a browser vulnerability. Our efforts have drastically limited the damage caused by this attack, and we are now in the process of investigating to identify those responsible.”

 

“Our engineers have been working diligently on this self-XSS vulnerability in the browser. We’ve built enforcement mechanisms to quickly shut down the malicious Pages and accounts that attempt to exploit it. We have also been putting those affected through educational checkpoints so they know how to protect themselves. We’ve put in place backend measures to reduce the rate of these attacks and will continue to iterate on our defenses to find new ways to protect people.”

 

Users are outraged, and as is typical with Facebook members, many are already threatening to close their accounts. That being said, it’s still not known how many of the site’s 800 million active users are affected.

 

Think you may have a Facebook virus or your account has been hacked? Here are three things you should try: change your password, remove suspicious apps, and perform a virus scan.

 

Change your Facebook password

It’s possible your Facebook woes are coming from the result of a phishing scam. Someone may have created a fake website that looks like Facebook or another online service you visit and tricked you into logging in. Their goal was to steal your password and other account credentials, and they may have succeeded.

 

In this case, you should change your password on Facebook. :

 

If changing your password fixes your Facebook problems, you should change your password for all your other services too, especially if you use the same password for them as you previously used on Facebook. If this doesn’t fix the problem, try the next step.

 

Remove unwanted Facebook apps

It’s possible your Facebook problems are coming from a rogue app that you accidentally installed or were tricked into installing. Every Facebook app has certain permissions to your account. Some of these permissions you can modify, while others you cannot.

 

Your best bet is to remove all the Facebook apps you find suspicious. If you don’t know how to do so, there are guides on Facebook itself.

 

If cleaning out your apps fixes your Facebook problems, tell your friends they should do the same (chances are the app asked your friends to install it as well). If this doesn’t fix the problem, try the next step.

 

 

Get some security software and run a virus scan

It’s possible the problems are coming from some sort of malware, be it a keylogger, a trojan, or some other type of virus. Even if you think your computer is clean, it can’t hurt to check.

 

I recommend Microsoft Security Essentials –it’s free and gets the job done very well. Another good one is Malwarebytes. Other free alternatives include Avira and Avast.

 

The aforementioned security programs are for Windows. If you have a Mac, try using the antivirus from Sophos.

 

After running the virus scan, clean out whatever the program detects.

Hard drive prices skyrocket

In the past few days, the price of big-name hard drives – Seagate, Western Digital, Hitachi, Samsung has shot up 40 to 90 percent.

 

Whether the profiteering can be attributed to manufacturers, distributors, or retailers is unclear — the middlemen don’t post their prices — but consumers, businesses, and IT companies are getting gouged.

 

Why is this happening? It all started with the flooding in central Thailand. Western Digital’s main plant in Bang-Pa industrial park was inundated with almost two meters of water (you can see pictures on Scan Computers International’s Facebook page). Toshiba had a hard drive plant in the same industrial park. Nidec and Hutchinson Technologies both had plants that make hard drive parts, taken out in the same flood. Nidec has an alternate plant outside the flood zone. Hutchinson has said it will shift production to the United States and fill orders from existing inventory.

 

The brunt of the flood has since flowed south. Bangkok saw horrendous flooding over the weekend, with more than 2.4 million people affected. But deep water remains in central Thailand, and it will take weeks just to get the water out. Repairing the facilities and replacing the equipment will take months.

 

The flooding took out approximately 25 percent of the world’s hard drive manufacturing capacity — but that isn’t the whole story.

 

Western Digital has a second large plant in Malaysia. Seagate doesn’t have any manufacturing in the flooded areas. Toshiba makes hard drives in several locations, not just Bang-Pa. All of the major manufacturers rely on parts supplied by companies that were hit by the floods, but there are alternate suppliers in different locations.

 

After the flood hit, hard drive prices remained static. But then the flooding story expanded, first in the technical press, then to the mainstream press. Two weeks ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook talked about the Thailand floods and called an industry wide hard drive shortage “likely.” Western Digitalannounced that they believe the industry will be supply constrained due to the flooding in Thailand” and projected a net operating loss for the fourth quarter of the year. Then the financial analysts started predicting shortages. When Wall Street starts moaning – we all suffer.

 

What’s the reality? Hardware manufacturers typically keep four to eight weeks’ inventory on premises or in the immediate supply chain, but with an expected softening in fourth-quarter PC sales, some of them had let their stocks slip. They’re now in the process of locking in hard drive shipments for late this year and early next year.

 

Where are prices headed? In the short term, almost certainly up. That isn’t because of supply: With Western Digital shifted to Malaysian production and Seagate plants running full tilt, the number of hard drives being produced right now is likely very close to the number that came off the assembly line before the flood.

 

When it comes to manufacturing hard drives, the sky isn’t falling. Not even close. There’s no doubt that the price increase is in response to demand and how long the irrational demand will last is anybody’s guess.

Let’s see how PC prices and sales fare over the next few months. If PC builders end up with an overstock of hard drives due to today’s irrational buying, perhaps PC prices will actually go down.

Slow PC Getting You Down

5 easy ways to fix a slow Windows PC. It happens to almost every Windows user over time: You buy a new desktop or laptop PC. It runs fast. But a few months later, you’re sure it’s slower than it used to be. Ask for help on the Internet or in real life, and you usually get one of two answers: you must have downloaded a virus, or you need to defragment your hard drive. This is usually NOT the answer. Unless you are experiencing virus like activity, you probably don’t have a virus, and Windows doesn’t need you to run the defragmenting tool yourself these days. Your problems most likely lie elsewhere.

 

Microsoft offers some basic help on how to solve the problem with five suggestions for getting a Windows machine back up to speed.

 

Check for viruses — This usually isn’t the problem, despite what your friendly, neighborhood geek told you, but it’s worth a look. If you haven’t got antivirus software running already, download the free Microsoft Security Essentials software.

 

Run Windows Update — If you haven’t updated your Windows operating system in a while, there may be speed fixes that Microsoft has published since you bought it. Of course, that doesn’t explain why your PC would have actually become slower, but it might improve the problem. Microsoft recommends that you turn on automatic updating, but many computer users hate automatic updates — they always seem to insist on installing themselves in the middle of a deadline or an important chat session. It’s easy to make Windows wait until you tell it to update – just remember to do it regularly.

 

Reduce your Web page history — This little nugget works. Internet Explorer stores a historical archive of Web sites you have visited. If it gets too big, managing it slows the browser. Microsoft recommends keeping no more than a week’s worth of Web history. The company has instructions for how to reduce the size of your history.

 

Disable add-ons — Browser add-ons can slow down browsing tremendously, especially if you install several of them. To disable add-ons, go to the Internet Explorer option Tools -> Manage Add-ons. Other browsers have similar configuration controls and suffer the same hit on performance. Use a few add-ons as possible.

 

Free up some disk space — A disk that’s running out of space can slow Windows performance down a lot, as it juggles data that it would normally just write out to the disk. To reclaim space, run the Disk Cleanup tool (bring up the Start menu and type “disk cleanup tool” into the search box) to remove Internet cache files, clear the Recycling Bin and delete installed programs that you never use.

 

Still too slow? Here’s a fast and easy way to get some help from the people who make Windows: Log in to Twitter and post a tweet with @MicrosoftHelps in it to get attention from the Microsoft customer support team. The team is available weekdays 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Pacific time. Microsoft has plenty of online documentation, but having a human being help you navigate the software is much quicker—especially if your system is already crawling.

 

 

Box.net One-Ups Apple’s iCloud with 50GB of Free Storage

Box.net is thumbing its nose at Apples  iCloud and turning up the iCloud competition by offering 50 GB of free cloud storage for anyone who uses a Box Personal account on an iPhone or iPad.


The Box offer of free cloud storage on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch comes as Apple officially launched iCloud, its cloud storage platform for iOS devices, this week. Box’s 50 GB of free cloud storage trumps the 5 GB free on iCloud. 50 GB of storage on iCloud would run about $100 per year.


“That’s right, it’s 50 GB in the cloud completely free, forever,” says Box Social Media Manager Mark Saldana in a blog post. “Your 50 GB of storage isn’t just limited to your mobile device — you get it anywhere you use your Box account, like on your laptop at home or your desktop at the office.”


According to Box, which has become a cloud storage, file sharing and content management darling, users have to visit the Apple App Store and download the newest Box app for their iPhone, iPad and iPod touch; log into the account or register for a new one from the app; start using Box for file sharing and storage.


If you already have a Box.net account, you’ll need to update to the newest Box for iPhone and iPad app, version 2.4.3, then log into Box in order to get 50 GB. An is that wasn’t enough, your new account will have an increased file size upload limit of 100 MB instead of the usual 25 MB.”


It has also updated its app with new features. It can leverage AirPlay for wireless streaming of Box content to Apple TV, meaning photos, videos and presentations can be shown.


The 50GB free cloud storage deal comes three years after Box launched its iPhone app and just days after Apple released their new iOS with iCloud included.


Box.net has made great strides in the cloud storage world of late, breaking onto the scene offering 50 GB of free storage to buyers of the HP TouchPad, the short-lived HP tablet; and free storage to users of HTC smartphones. Those moves have made Box.net a cloud storage, file sharing and content management sensation.


The company also recently added new syncing capabilities and security to its offerings, which it unveiled at its first-ever BoxWorks customer conference last month. Box also reportedly also recently deflected a potential acquisition from Citrix for an estimated $600 million and just weeks later announced raising $81 million in funding.


http://www.box.net/

The Entire Cloud Is Your Hard Drive For Only $10 Per Month

The cloud is now your hard drive. And not just a few dozen Gigabytes, Terabytes or even Petabytes, but all of it – infinite storage – for only $10 per month. That’s the incredible promise of the new TechCrunch Disrupt finalist Bitcasa.

The company is launching a new cloud storage, syncing and sharing service that blows away its competitors, including hard drive manufacturers and online services like DropBox and SkyDrive, with ease. In fact, beyond the pricing and limitless storage, the most disruptive thing about the service is its complete integration with your device. You don’t see it, it’s not an icon on your desktop, you don’t drag-and-drop files or folders into it. Instead, you write to the cloud when you save a file on your computer. The cloud is your hard drive, and your actual hard drive is just the cache.

The idea of using the cloud to store files or sync files between devices is not new. Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Docs, Amazon and countless others have been offering online storage for some time. Plus, companies like Mozy and Carbonite use the cloud to back up your files. Other services, like Megaupload or YouSendIt revolve around sharing files through the cloud.

But Bitcasa is not like any of those services. It doesn’t move files around. It doesn’t sync files. It deals in bits and bytes, the 1′s and 0′s of digital data.

When you save a file, Bitcasa writes those 1′s and 0′s to its server-side infrastructure in the cloud. It doesn’t know anything about the file itself, really. It doesn’t see the file’s title or know its contents. It doesn’t know who wrote the file. And because the data is encrypted on the client side, Bitcasa doesn’t even know what it’s storing.

So if you want to cloud-enable your 80 GB collection of MP3′s or a terabyte of movies (acquired mainly through torrenting, naughty you!), go ahead. Even if the RIAA and MPAA came knocking on Bitcasa’s doors, subpoenas in hand, all Bitcasa would have is a collection of encrypted bits with no means to decrypt them.

If you’re still having a hard time wrapping your head around this idea, think of it like this: instead of relying on the fallible and limited hard drive in your computer (and soon, your smartphone), your data is stored on an array of thousands of hard drives and streamed to you on demand. And in order to deal with the “offline” problem, the files you use the most are intelligently cached on your computer, allowing you to work when the cloud goes down, which is rare, as well as when you don’t have an Internet connection, which is more common.

Sharing files via Bitcasa is simple too: just copy and paste a file’s or folder’s link (a URL, available on right-click) and send to someone via email, IM or some other service. They click the link to have the file delivered directly to their desktop.

And the pricing! How on earth is it so cheap?

That’s the easy part, actually. Explains Bitcasa CEO Tony Gauda, $10/month still gives the company good margins. The fact is, 60% of your data is duplicate. If you have an MP3 file, someone else probably has the same one, for example. Each person only tends to have around 25 GB of unique, personal data, he says. Using patented de-duplication algorithms, compression techniques and encryption, Bitcasa keeps costs down (way, way down, but that’s it’s secret sauce), which is what makes it so affordable. Bitcasa also explained that a freemium model is on its way with less-than-unlimited storage for free.

This service sounds almost too good to be true, leaving us with questions that need still need to be answered. Does it really work? Does it slow down your computer? Can it scale? The company is positive it’s ready, but we need to see it to believe it.

Bitcasa currently has 20 patents for its technology and plans to add more in the future. It will also offer mobile applications that run in the background to do on mobile what it does on the desktop today. And it will work on other features, like real-time video transcoding, so your movies can stream to any device, without any manual effort on your part. There are even more things in the works, too, but those are being kept tightly under wraps for now.

The Bitcasa founders include CEO Tony Gauda, Joel Andren and Kevin Blackham, whose combined work experience includes time spent at MasterCard, VeriSign, Classmates.com, Mozy and more. In total, Bitcasa has raised $1.3 million from Andreessen Horowitz, First Round Capital and Pelion Venture Partners.

Bitcasa will be free while in limited beta trials. Sign up for beta access here.
http://www.bitcasa.com/

Windows 8 Official Debut

On Tuesday, September 13, at 9AM Pacific Time, someone from Microsoft will take the stage at Microsoft’s BUILD conference in Anaheim, California to present the opening keynote and offer the first extended public demonstration of Windows 8.

I have no inside knowledge of Windows 8 and haven’t seen it except for video clips and pictures you can find all over the internet, but rest assured, Windows 8 will be another game changer with a long list of “features” we’ll all need to master.

The Windows 7 release accomplished Microsoft’s immediate goal of cleaning up their Windows Vista mess while attempting to establish Microsoft’s reputation of delivering a well-engineered piece of software on a predictable schedule. With the Vista debacle in its rear-view mirror and Windows 7 being more widely adopted every day, Microsoft concentrated on fundamental improvements in performance, reliability, and the ever important – user interface.

Based on current rumors and videos floating around the web, here are a few “sneak peeks” at Windows 8 and some of the changes we can expect:

  • The new OS will run on x86 systems as well as new designs based on ARM processors. System requirements will be equal to or lower than those of Windows 7.
  • It will have a new Start screen, designed to work equally well with a touch screen or a mouse and based on the same design principles used on Windows 7 Phone devices.
  • A new generation of full-screen applications (based on HTML5) will be especially well suited for tablet devices.
  • The traditional Windows desktop, with support for all the programs you can use today on Windows 7, will be available as a full-screen app, with the capability to switch from the desktop to a full-screen app with a gesture. If you’ve had an opportunity to play with a new MacBook, you’ll understand just how cool “gesture
  • Internet Explorer 10 will be part of Windows 8, and the Trident rendering engine will be at the heart of the new Start screen and application model.
  • The ribbon, a feature so many of us didn’t like in MS Office, will be a key part of the interface for Windows Explorer and other utilities that run on a traditional Windows desktop.
  • There will be a new, Microsoft-managed App Store.

By the end of the day on Tuesday, after day one of Microsoft’s BUILD conference concludes, we’ll know much more about Windows 8. Hopefully, the conference will answer some of the questions Microsoft watchers have been asking over the past few months, questions like…

How will Microsoft manage the transition to a new interface?
Windows 8 will include two interfaces: the “modern” Metro-style interface and the traditional desktop as embodied in Windows 7. This means that business owners will need to carefully evaluate the “re-training” costs associated with a different “tablet style” interface as well as 3rd party application developers deciding which interface to invest their development resources. This question will be on the minds of many BUILD conference attendees.

Where’s is Microsoft’s cloud strategy?
Microsoft has spent the past few years building up its cloud-based offerings. With a Windows Live ID, you can get 25 GB of online storage for documents and photos. You can sync a separate 5 GB of data to SkyDrive using the Windows Live Mesh utility as well. but that’s about it. Google and Apple have already gone public with their cloud solutions. Will the Microsoft cloud picture get clearer this week? Let’s hope so

Can a Microsoft Windows powered tablet really wait till mid-2012 or later?
The stunning success of Apples iPad means there’s some urgency for Microsoft to respond. But a hasty response can be worse than none at all. Just ask HP, which abruptly canned their TouchPad less than two months after rolling it out to the market. Or ask anyone you know who bought a current-generation Android tablet and is now struggling to make it work.

Based on these competitors’ experiences, Microsoft’s decision to wait until it can release a combination of hardware and software that works well together is the right one. One rumor floating around today is that Windows 8 could be delivered in two releases: one version exclusively for ARM-based tablet devices, early in 2012, followed by the full Windows 8 release for traditional PCs later that year.

How much will it cost?
There’s really no way to answer this question without first defining the list of Windows 8 editions. Windows 8 will be delivered in multiple versions just like Windows 7 – at a bare minimum, there will be one for consumers and another for businesses on enterprise networks.

Most copies of Windows are sold through hardware manufacturers on new PCs so don’t expect that to change for Windows 8. With Microsoft’s decision to engineer Windows 8 to run on existing hardware, it wouldn’t surprise me to see discounted upgrades for Windows 7 users. Windows XP and Vista users – my bet is that you’re out of luck – no discounts for you.

There are many more questions waiting to be answered at this conference. If you haven’t seen any pictures of Windows 8 take a look at this article from PC MAGAZINE
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2386317,00.asp

You can follow along with the BUILD conference here:
http://www.windows8update.com

Or just Google “Pictures of Windows 8” There’s a bunch out there!

A Powerful Windows Tool Everyone Should Have

We’re always looking for programs that add functionality to a user’s computing environment.  There are a few pre-requisites that need to be met before we’ll test and share our findings and today’s entry meets the muster.

Basically, the application has to “do something” of value that most people would be happy to pay a fee for and the program has to be within the financial reach of the masses. Recuva (pronounced Recover) is one of those applications that I think should live in every PC user’s All Programs group.

File undelete has been a mainstay of the PC utility market since the early days of DOS. As far as I’m concerned, there’s never been a tool that performs file undelete better than Recuva. It’s fast, thorough, and absolutely free.

When you empty the Windows Recycle Bin trash, the files aren’t immediately destroyed; rather, the space they occupy is earmarked as available for new data. Undelete routines scan the many bits and bytes of your hard drive, then put the pieces back together again. As long as you haven’t added new data to a drive, undelete (almost) always works; even if you’ve added data, there’s a good chance you can get most of the deleted stuff back.

Recuva’s repertoire goes well beyond the Windows recycle bin. Use it to undelete data on a USB drive, a camera’s memory card, or even an MP3 player.

Having been personally presented a number of camera cards over the years, with the photographer complaining that all their pictures were gone,… I think this is one of the most important PC utilities a camera owner can have.

To make things even easier, there’s a “thumb nail view that allows you to visually browse deleted images for the specific file you want. Recuva uses a red-yellow-green light metaphor to indicate your chances of fully recovering deleted files. Very easy to understand and use.

Warning: The installer offers to install the Yahoo toolbar but you’re free to eliminate this add-on during the installation routine.

Here’s a link describing  some of the powerful features of Recuva: http://www.piriform.com/recuva/features

This program is brought to you but the makers of CCleaner – a familiar file optimization and cleaning tool – which happens to be another free tool we use and recommend all the time.

Download Recuva here: http://www.piriform.com/recuva
Recuva is available for: Windows 7, Vista, XP; Windows Server 2008, 2003

Top 10 Internet Scams

Anatomy of a Scam:

Scams like this are all over the internet…
1: The hook: Click here to win a new iPad2
2: The frustration: Just one more step to get your FREE iPad
3: The redirect: Oops, looks like you’re not logged in.
4: The folly: Log in here
5: The payoff: Oops. Looks like there was a problem logging you in….. (But thanks for your credentials…)
Here’s the Top 10 List provided by the Massachusetts Better Business Bureau

Job Hunter Scams
Pitch:  We will match you up with a perfect job that’s already and waiting for you.
Target:
Bank account and/or Social Security numbers.
Result: Victims must pay a fee to be considered for a job.  Out of money they don’t have, still no job.

Debt Relief and Settlement Services
Pitch: We will help you eliminate most of all your debt (for a fraction of the amount you owe).
Target:
  Collection of upfront fee(s) in order to “settle your debts.”
Results:  Potentially leave the consumer drowning in even more debt than they started with and completely ruin their credit.

Work from Home Schemes
Pitch: Fire your boss! We can teach you the secrets to making money online, assembling items at home or being a mystery shopper.
Target:
  Employees tired of the same 9-5 routine.  In some cases, they unknowingly work to fence stolen goods.
Result: Instead of getting paid, you can end up losing hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars or in legal trouble.

Timeshare Resellers
Pitch:   We will help you get out from under your costly vacation property and do it fast.
Target:
  Collect several thousand dollars to cover fees.
Result:  After paying the fees, the seller never hears from the company again.

Not So “Free” Trail Offers
Pitch:  Try a free offer and never be charged – unless you want to continue the offer.
Target:
Repeated monthly billings.
Result:   The free trial offers seem easy, the consumer is repeatedly billed every month and is difficult to cancel.

Rogue Home Repair/Roofers
Pitch:   We can get that tree out with half down, and fix your roof for a fraction of what that guy is going to charge you.

Target: Initial upfront fee(s) to get the job started.
Result:  Homeowners are often stuck with either an unfinished or never started project and are out the initial money as well.

Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams
Pitch:  You have won a large lottery or sweepstakes and just have to cover taxes before
receiving your money.
Target:
  Payment under the guise of “covering taxes” or other bogus “fees”.
Result:   The victim wires the money, but the prize or money never arrives.

Advance-Fee Loan Scams
Pitch:   You or your business qualifies for a large loan but you must pay some upfront fees.
Target:
  Initial upfront fee(s) – often more than a thousand dollars.
Result:  The victim wires “the fee” to the scammers but never receives the loan.

Over-Payment Scams
Pitch:  Oops, I accidentally sent you too much money, would you please wire some back?
Target:
Any amount of money that is wired back.
Result:   Transaction is reversed, and the victim is out the money wired back to the scammers.

Identity Theft
Pitch:   Hi, this is a very legitimate business, we need to confirm some information today, is that ok?
Target:
  Gathering personal sensitive information to open lines of credit or just straight stealing money from the victim’s account.
Result:   Victim is left spending countless hours trying to repair all of the damage the thieves have done or are still doing.

For more information on how to protect yourself and your family, visit Microsoft’s Safety and Security Center: http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/phishing-scams.aspx

Special thanks to the Better Business Bureau for this timely information. http://boston.bbb.org

Never Renew Your Antivirus Again

I know – I’m always harping on you to keep your Antivirus program up-to-date so what’s that headline all about? Just a way for you to save some money AND keep your home PC’s fully protected and virus free.

Vipre PC Lifetime License
Vipre and Vipre Premium are now available with PC lifetime licenses. This means you won’t be nagged when your subscription is nearing its end, and you’ll never have to pay recurring renewal fees.

PC Lifetime Licenses are good for the life of your PC; you can also get an unlimited home license that will cover up to 10 PC’s in your home for the lifetime of your PC’s.

How about the cost:
This may surprise you. A Vipre standard lifetime license is only $89 and Vipre Premium only $109.95. That’s an amazing deal for a lifetime of Antivirus protection and updates.

Vipre Lifetime Antivirus FAQ’s

Q. What does “PC Lifetime” mean?
Lifetime means for the lifetime of one PC. In other words, for as long as you have that PC, you will be covered by the Lifetime PC License. If you sell or give away that PC, the license is non-transferable.

Q. What if my computer crashes?
If your computer crashes and you have to reformat your hard drive, that’s fine and you’re completely covered. However, if you rebuild the computer with new components (in effect, creating a new computer), the license is invalid. However, because motherboards and other major components do malfunction, we do provide you a one-time reinstall of the Software in the event you make a major system change.

Keep in mind that you can install and reinstall the VIPRE Lifetime license as many times as you like, on the original computer. For example, some people like to routinely re-format their hard drive so as to optimize performance. That’s completely fine.

Q. I’m still confused. Can you explain in more detail?
The concept is simple: A person buys a computer and holds on to it for a period of time. After several years, one would typically buy a new computer, and either a) sell their old one, b) relegate it to some back attic or a dark closet, c) give to someone else, or d) throw it out/recycle it. As long as you own that PC, you’ll be covered by the Lifetime license and never have to pay for an update for that copy Lifetime copy of VIPRE. If you sell it, throw it out, give it to someone else, the license is no longer valid.

Q. What is the specific legal language in the End User License Agreement (EULA) that covers this license?

The Lifetime license is in all current VIPRE home licenses. It reads as follows:

PC Lifetime Service Policy
If your purchase includes GFI’s PC Lifetime Service Policy (“Lifetime Service”), GFI agrees to provide you with related Content Updates (defined below) for the Software for download at no extra charge for as long as you own the original computer upon which you originally installed the agent or client Software (“Original Computer”); however, if your original computer is damaged, or if you experience a hard drive failure resulting in having to rebuild or restore the original computer, GFI agrees to provide a one-time reinstall of the Software so as to continue the Lifetime Service.

Lifetime Service Restrictions
LIFETIME SERVICE IS SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING RESTRICTIONS AND LIMITATIONS: in addition to the terms of this License: (a) Lifetime Service is not transferable to a new (or used) or different computer if, for any reason, you purchase a new computer; however, you may purchase from GFI an additional copy of the Software, or the equivalent product available at that time, for a fee; and (b) Lifetime Service is not transferable to another user if your Original Computer is sold or transferred to another user, if components are rebuilt into a new computer, or if the Software is transferred as maybe otherwise provided herein.

If you’d like a full copy of the EULA, you can request one from GFI and they’ll be happy to send one out. Or, you can view the EULA when you install VIPRE, in which case you will have the option of agreeing to it and continuing with the installation, or not agreeing to it and stopping the installation.

If you’re ready to buy, click the link:
http://vipreantivirus.com/software/lifetime/

If you’re already a VIPRE subscriber? Upgrade your copy with the PC Lifetime Upgrade here:
http://vipreantivirus.com/upgrade/
Enter your current product key for pricing

Spotify Makes Its US Debut

The hottest music venue in Europe opened its doors last Thursday morning to a select group of users in the United States.

Spotify, which makes Internet music-streaming software, launched the much-hyped U.S. version of its service after delays and years of negotiation.

Initially, Spotify will only be accepting new members to its free service who receive invitations from the company, one of its sponsors or a current user.

“The US is the largest market in the world,” Kenneth Parks, Spotify’s content chief, said in an interview. “We neber done a launch this large.”

Google+, the new social network, also launched recently using an invite-only scheme. Spotify plans to welcome everyone for free after several weeks.

Spotify will let people choose from any of 15 million songs to hear for free — up to 10 hours per month, with each track listenable up to five times. For the first six months, however, people who enter during the invitation period are exempt from the monthly limit.

After that, users can lift the restrictions by paying $4.99 a month or buying songs individually, like iTunes. The smartphone apps can be accessed for $9.99 a month, which includes unlimited streaming and the ability to save copy-protected music for listening offline.

Spotify differs from iTunes in the way you listen to music. iTunes is a store from which you purchase, download and then play the music. Spotify doesn’t require any downloading – you just stream the music to/through your device.

The ability to create and share playlists with Facebook friends has created a beehive mix-tape culture of more than 10 million users in Europe.

Operating from a small office in Stockholm, Sweden, Spotify quickly spread its tentacles across Europe. But during the past couple of years, the company has been caught in a web of bureaucracy. Record-label executives have expressed concern that Spotify’s free offering devalues music and doesn’t drum up significant revenue.

“They (the record companies) wanted to be careful,” Parks said. “Spotify has always had a view that the free experience was core to what Spotify was all about and key to get users to invest in the service.” Spotify CEO Daniel Ek echoed that belief at a technology conference in December, as he has in several public appearances before that and likely will again at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference this week.

The four major labels and Spotify have finally settled their disputes and in the time since, the record companies have given the go-ahead to competing digital music initiatives such as Rdio, MOG and, most recently, Apple’s iTunes.

Sign up to request an invitation for a FREE account here:
http://www.spotify.com

If you’re ready to spend a few bucks a month you can sign up here right now:
http://www.spotify.com/us/about/what/

Spotify’s Facebook Page
http://sv-se.facebook.com/Spotify

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