Archive for February, 2010

Conversion Hosting Converts Your Online Efforts into Profit

February 26, 2010 | By | 8 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

The past few days had been a hustle because my time became so dedicated on my new online venture which wasn’t about tech blogging but is somewhat technical to say the least. Managing a web hosting start-up requires that much time and effort to even complete certain tasks and technical requirements especially at the backend.

Eagerness to learn as well as passion brought me into realizing this project which I’ve thought about since earlier this year. Finally, it became operational just a couple of days ago.

Conversion Hosting is officially open for business and is currently offering shared web hosting space at very affordable rates. Yours truly will be serving as one of the support administrators while being based in the Philippines. Our servers are based in Houston, Texas and is completely Green powered which means it’s environmentally-friendly.

Conversion Hosting

This web hosting investment is truly a big risk on my end however being a Tech blogger, I know that I could certainly deliver a good technical support especially with the many web hosting experiences I’ve gained as a consumer and webmaster.

Understanding web hosting customers’ needs in the perspective of a consumer’s viewpoint definitely gives me an edge to understand the needs of every webmaster who are trying to build their online presence one step at a time.

I would always see my self on every prospective consumer that will come and use the service of Conversion Hosting and from there I would know how web hosting should be done and how it should work for the consumer’s advantage.

Software Critics started out small but then grew gradually. Blogging profit is something I don’t disclose on this site but this is what I envision every domain that will be hosted on Conversion Hosting. However small a website is, as long as it could start on a decent hosting, it eventually can become profitable in the long haul.

Consider hosting your site at Conversion Hosting and we’ll try our best to help you convert your online efforts into profit through our reliable web hosting solutions. Discount coupons will be provided to the newsletter subscribers of this blog so if you haven’t signed up, here’s your chance to do so.

Take a tour at Conversion Hosting and let me know what you think. Cheers!

Getting a Goodnight Sleep with Sound Machines

February 18, 2010 | By | 1 Reply More

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

Babies get to sleep with cradlesongs from their moms. Adults however have different ways of getting a sleep. Yours truly cannot actually sleep unlike others with a radio on or MP3 music playing in the head.

However, you’re the type of person who can actually relax with sound vibrations or is familiar with sound therapy then, a sound machine is for you. A typical white noise machine can enhance your sleeping patterns and reduce your sleep problems. White noise generators produce pleasant sounds that promote relaxation and calmness like the sound of a rushing air.

Sound machines are also used for sound masking and speech privacy in doctor’s offices, counseling centers and other businesses.

I wouldn’t be surprised about this technology as there are many sound waves and techniques using sound vibrations are being used nowadays for so many purposes other than getting sleep or curing sleep disorders.

Have you tried using them yourself? If so, what do you think of them? Are they really effective as advertised? I want to hear your story.

SnapABug Boosts Visual Customer Support

February 18, 2010 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

SnapABug first debuted on this blog by participating as one of the sponsors on last year’s holiday giveaway wherein they provided a SnapABug Pro Account for one year (a $228 value) to one lucky reader and also gave yours truly, the same type of account. Readership feedback has been awesome since its integration as you can see on the left hand side the green “Help” widget.

SnapABug specializes in visual customer support solutions for websites wherein the ability to capture a screenshot of the page before submitting a support request, a query or a ticket is unprecedented. This feature makes SnapABug extra special considering that most of today’s customer support systems on sites are just focused on the traditional ticketing system and chat.

SnapABug

The service is typically not for free however a 15-day Business Account trial is provided for you to fully utilize its benefits which aren’t bad after all.

Among the most common features of the service which can be found on all account types are Live Support Agents which can be integrated on GTalk, Button Customization, Unlimited User Support Cases, Webpage Snapshot, Browser, OS and Plugins Version Reporting, IP Address or Geo. Location Tracking, Language Selection and integration with your preferred CRM or Help Desk solution and SSL Support.

Comments:

Integration of chat or live support outside of your GMail inbox and with other IM clients like Pidgin and Digsby is not yet possible but hopefully soon for added flexibility.

The “Help” button is at default green unless you customize by using your own image. The ability to change its color from green to any of the primary color would have been better so it could blend with your site’s colors however the green one still manages to attract anyway.

It can be a little pricy for some but if you’ll look at its benefits, you’re not just getting a simple chat support but a visual imagery of the page in question in case unwanted bugs are discovered.

If you’d like to give SnapABug a go, simply follow this link. To see SnapABug in action, watch the video below. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Update Your PC Drivers Easily With Driver Access

February 10, 2010 | By | 2 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

A smooth running computer is what everybody wants just like a well conditioned car. Nobody body wants hassles and as long as you have the right tools to keep your computer drivers at par, you don’t really have to look somewhere else and think about planning to buy a new PC no matter how old is the one you have.

All you need to do is keep your windows drivers healthy by keeping track of new driver updates because this will improve your PC’s performance exactly like you’ve first had them from the store.

Updating you computer drivers can be tedious but with the help of Driver Access, you can complete the task in less than a couple of minutes while at the same time getting the latest version for your drivers.

A variety of peripherals are supported by different types of drivers such mouse drivers, keyboard drivers, and USB drivers among others thus keeping them up-to-date will make sure these hardware from functioning properly.

A driver backup wizard that comes with the software makes certain that you have your own copy for safekeeping.

There are many driver updaters in the market today but those who can provide customer service is a much desirable aspect. Software developers cannot always assume that their users are technically savvy therefore providing a hand is a wise move.

Enjoy Anonymous Browsing with VPN

February 10, 2010 | By | 20 Replies More

Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

The demands of getting a highly secured internet browsing experience are increasing overtime that’s why the need for a VPN service (Virtual Private Network) is becoming necessary.

The purpose of securing a Virtual Private Network generally advocates privacy and as proven extension of a private network from an unsafe network such as the internet which ensure encryption of data between two points through a secured tunnel.

Virtual Private Network

VPN also separates traffic of different user communities over a network with strong security features such as those sites that block access from certain geo-locations.

VPNs, therefore, allows you to surf the web invisibly and securely without a trace and without being tracked. It normally works with any of the programs installed on your PC such as chat clients, email and browsers for maximum protection.

With VPN service, you can access geo-restricted sites such as Hulu, Pandora, BBC iPlayer etc. using servers from US and UK even while traveling, hide yourself from internet monitoring or web filtering applications, protects your computer and network from hackers, streaming videos and downloading, unblock the web from anywhere and bypass internet censorship.

Although there are many advantages of using VPN, you must be aware that VPNs may break terms of service because of access to restricted sites and can slow down direct access to network so responsible use is recommended.

ibVPN is one provider that approached this blog to promote their service and provide the readers of this site the wonderful opportunity of securing an account with them for FREE.

Ten (10) lucky readers will get the chance to experience ibVPN for three (3) months without having to pay $7.95 per month on a premium ibVPN account.

Here’s how to join:

1. Comment on this post.

2. Tweet this post. Make sure that you’re following @SoftwareCritics on Twitter. (1 entry)

3. Share this post on Facebook and become a Software Critics fan. (1 entry)

4. Subscribe to our weekly Newsletter. (1 entry)

5. Blog about this contest or post this on a forum. (3 entries)

Existing Twitter followers, Facebook fans and Newsletter subscribers are eligible to join simply by leaving a comment. (1 entry)

Bonus: The First blogger to promote this giveaway on their site automatically gets a free account also good for three (3) months.

Configuring ibVPN is easy. Follow these steps listed here to know how.

ibVPN is compatible with:

Windows XP and Windows Vista
Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/Windows 7
Mac OS X 10.2 and higher
Linux, iPhone, WM Smartphones
Any PPTP compatible device/software

Contest ends on the 28th and winners will be announced on March 1st 2010.

Experience secure and private browsing with ibVPN today!

The above giveaway has officially ended last 28th. Here are the names of the winners – James Moralde, Ching ya, Serene Talimar, Danniel Little, Francis Flor, Chalale Teboho, Rafael Capucci, Amir Aizudin, mohsen, and Ed. Congratulations to all the winners and thank you very much to everyone who participated.

Updated: 01March2010

Are You Up For A Debt-Free First Quarter?

February 9, 2010 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

Starting the year right was always the priority of everyone regardless if you’re in business or just a regular home maker or employee.

Debt management should always be a top priority if the need for emergency funds came unexpectedly. But how can you manage your debts given the challenges of this economic downturn?

There are many ways though and one of which is securing IVA or an Individual Voluntary Arrangement with a financial company to manage your debts for you. Most of the time, these IVAs will cut the amount you owe (typically by 50% but in some cases by up to 70%), will freeze the interest you pay and will legally prevent creditors taking action against you when the things get worse. Of course, these services are there to prevent the latter case from happening.

IVAs are your best route to becoming debt free incase the equity in your property isn’t enough to consolidate debt via a re-mortgage. As you enter into such legally binding agreement with your creditors, licensed insolvency practitioners will oversee and supervise it for you thus providing greater security and much better terms compared with a debt management plan.

It’s inevitable for us not to have debts at least once in a while however staying out of it is still the best way to go most of the time. How about you? Do you always stay away from debt?

Software Critics Turns One: Blogging Milestones

February 8, 2010 | By | 15 Replies More

Reading time: 6 – 9 minutes

A year go on this very day, Software Critics was registered at NameCheap and was self-hosted via a free host using the WordPress platform. This blog that was then a software download site which has turned into a full blown software review site and eventually evolved into more than just a regular technology site that also features the latest software and technology news, applications and constantly provides assistance and support to startups, and the open source community.

Software Critics turned one year today and it is of great gladness that this weblog have come this far. As we commence another fruitful year into tech blogging, allow me to take you into our journey of a year that was.

first birthday!

March 2009 marks one of the busiest months after the transition from blogger (then Freestuffzfanatico.blogspot.com) into WordPress and one of the most consistent traffic gainer on this blog was written on this month, Yahoo! Mail “Undisclosed Recipients” Made Easy, a post about setting your Yahoo Mail to sending email to bulk recipients without exposing each of your recipients’ email addresses to each other in order to avoid spam.

A tutorial about optimizing your PC speed, downloading free music from social music networks, and the release of our very own toolbar all happened on this month.

It was in April 2009 when the H1N1 scare blew the web with the presence of Swine Flu domains sprouting every second. In fact, yours truly even received an email from a scammer accusing me of maligning his online business.

The succeeding month inspired me to write about the effect of the Conficker virus on removable drives and how I was able to counter it productively using the right set of tools to recover damaged files.

Michael Jackson King of PopThe month of June was a sad moment because of the King of Pop’s untimely passing so I’ve put up a post to commemorate Michael Jackson through embed flash players. As part of my support to webmasters especially bloggers from blog hacking, an info about PHP script vulnerabilities was written along side some tips on when not to trust your webhost. This month marks my first attempt to join an online contest with my slideshare entry, To Be A Better Man.

July 2009 is when ZipRunner acquires Entrecard which left me in doubt if it would ever be the same again after the transition of ownership.

I embraced the Thesis Theme the following month while at the same time discovering Yahoo error 81003016 and Google Chrome personalization took center stage.

The first “Ber Month” is a time of ups and downs. I’ve switched web hosting the fourth time within a year to settle with Bluehost.com. A public service announcement was posted on this site to help typhoon Ondoy victims.

I’ve first used Yahoo Meme to check if it could be a good Twitter rival. Among the many firsts that happened on this month are attending WordCamp Philippines and switching this blog to do follow.

WordCamp Philippines

Bouncing back after some downturns is definitely one of the things that I’ve learned out of blogging more than anything else. The value of fortitude reminds me of this so I’ve moved on after web hosting nightmares and started implementing a comment policy after a series of keywordluv abuse.

The month after the Yuletide season is when I started implementing the mobile version of this blog plus my revelation of the some of the most horrible web hosting services today that any new webmaster should avoid.

November is also the month when Google started informing the public that site speed will be a ranking factor come 2010 but not to mention personalized search while on the other hand Microsoft released Office 2010 Beta.

The last month of 2009 is when I gained some thoughts if a blogging mafia really exist and have shared some tips on how to recognize phishing emails, why image hosting on your server is not necessary and a series of giveaways here including my $US1500 giveaway.

December 2009 is when I’ve set up my Spokn ID which is 3463452 and Google dropping a notch off this blog’s pagerank.

Starting off the year right was announcing my giveaway winners and giving my thank you’s. The latter part was sharing another Yahoo hack if you can’t open your mails and a helpful trick to fix Tiny MCE or Visual Editor problem for self-hosted WordPress blogs.

This month showcases another giveaway so timely for the celebration of Software Critics’ first anniversary as PowerPivot Excelerators Quiz by Microsoft chose this blog to promote them and in return giving one lucky reader the chance to win a Dell ST2310 monitor.

More surprises await the readers of Software Critics and as this blog progresses, I’ll always try my best to provide valuable content that everyone could benefit. I personally would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to each and every reader of this blog for keeping me inspired to continue what I’ve started and love doing.

Once again, thank you. I’m just getting started so watch out for more great content and more giveaways to come. Your suggestions and comments are always welcome!

Wrestle the Challenges of Project Management with Mavenlink

February 5, 2010 | By | 1 Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

Quitting your job and starting your own business is definitely a big decision to make and a Herculean task to undertake given all the challenges that you’ll face as reality starts to pour in however, you don’t have to be alone to wrestle the burden of managing your business because there are services like Mavenlink that helps clients run their businesses from networking to legal, accounting, IT and a whole lot more with their “Work Smarter Not Harder” philosophy.

Businesses, consultants, service firms and even non-profits can effectively manage their projects through Mavenlink’s enhanced collaboration features through effective communication mediums, project timeline and management capabilities, improved visibility offering for service providers and talent showcase including efficient tracking.

Having the right people and the right set of tools to back you up at all times is necessary in today’s ever changing economy. Working hard isn’t always enough because working smarter is the best way to manage your business.

Watch the entertaining video below and be informed of the benefits of having the good guys behind your back.

Tell me what you think of the video and how it best describes the nature of Mavelink’s business. We may have different opinions so I’d be glad to know yours.

Take the PowerPivot Excel-erator Quiz and Win a Dell ST2310

February 1, 2010 | By | 21 Replies More

Reading time: 5 – 8 minutes

With only a few days before this software review blog’s first anniversary which will be on the 8th of February, a representative of PowerPivot for Excel, the new add-on for Microsoft Excel 2010, approached me to host PowerPivot’s Excelerator Quiz giveaway on this site as part of their promotional campaign since they’ve launched this fun quiz called “Are you an Excelerator?” in conjunction with the recent release of PowerPivot and Excel 2010 beta.

The Excelerators Quiz by Microsoft

This comes in great timing with this site’s upcoming anniversary so I accepted their proposal without any form of compensation since it’s a win-win opportunity as well so as a result, one lucky reader of this blog will be rewarded a Dell ST2310 23-inch flat monitor and a wireless keyboard and mouse valued over US$250 courtesy of PowerPivot for Excel.

Here’s how to join:

For Twitter Users

1. Take the Powerpivot for Excel’s Excelerator Quiz at www.exceleratorsquiz.com. Share your results on Twitter and copy the status URL and paste it here as a comment.

How to copy status URL on Twitter:

Mouse over on time the tweet was sent and click it. See screenshot below:Twitter Tweet time stamp

Copy what’s on the address bar on your browser similar to the one below:
http://twitter.com/SoftwareCritics/status/8446612519 and include it with your comment. See below example.Twitter status URL

2. Retweet this post using the retweet button below and make sure that you’re following @SoftwareCritics and @powerpivot on Twitter.

For Facebook users

You must have taken the quiz at www.exceleratorsquiz.com. Share your results on your Facebook profile from the results screen and Share this post on Facebook using the share button below and make sure that you’re a fan of SoftwareCritics and Powerpivot as this will validate your entry.

Participating via Twitter and Facebook count as two separate entry which means if you did both, you get two valid entries automatically.

Bonus:
If you have a personal website or blog and is a US resident and have mentioned this giveaway on a separate post, you’ll get an automatic two entry points. Bloggers not in the US however, will get a “do follow” link if you mention this post.

So, if you will do all of the above, you’ll earn a maximum total of four (4) entries and a bigger chance of winning. See sample entry below.

Sample Entry

Simple contest rules:

1. Only valid entries (completed and received on or by the closing date, 13th February 2010 at 11:59pm PST) are eligible for drawing. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. Only US residents are qualified to win the prize due to sponsor’s shipping requirements.

2. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded.

3. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness and/or voice/photograph for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, publication on this site and distribution over the internet and picture data storage) which the sponsor PowerPivot for Excel team and Software Critics, may deem appropriate.

4. In accepting the prize, the winner, acknowledges that Software Critics may not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with accepting or using this prize. The principal sponsor will be the one to ship the prize.

5. Software Critics reserves the right to change the contest rules at anytime during its duration without prior notice. Software Critics decision is final and irrevocable after its announcement of the winner on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2010 on this site.

On the sideline, take the Alpha Geek Challenge!

The PowerPivot Team invites you to put yourself to the test and prove if you’re the Excel Geek extraordinaire they were looking for as Donald Farmer issues Business Intelligence challenges for you to solve using the new add-on PowerPivot for Excel.

Three finalists will receive a $250 Microsoft Store shopping spree, and one lucky Grand Prize winner will receive an all-expense paid trip to the 2010 Microsoft BI Conference in New Orleans, LA from June 7-10th 2010. Click here for more details.

Questions about the PowerPivot Excelerators Quiz by Microsoft giveaway are encouraged in the comments section.

Update 14 February 2010:

The giveaway has officially ended.

Congratulations to Keith Bloemendaal for winning himself a Dell ST2310 23-inch flat monitor and a wireless keyboard and mouse valued over US$250 courtesy of PowerPivot for Excel!

Thank you all for joining!

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