Bitdefender Review 2015

This review is going to be a little weird as it will join two products from the same company due to the fact that if I am honest both of their product lines that was tested was a little bit of letdown in different respects.

Bitdefender Free Interface

Bitdefender Free was the first product that was tried because of 360 Total Security taking up such a huge amount of memory on the system.  Bitdefender had always seemly scored quite high in the detection rates for third-party test and for that reason Bitdefender free was loaded onto the system to see how it performed.  The positives for this product was it was extremely lightweight and it was a breath of fresh air compared to 360’s previous offering, maxing out at about 50 megs of RAM when scanning and being as low as 10 meg when not.  The other thing that really caught your eye was how simple it was, it took all the features out and just allowed you to have the bog standard anti-malware product that is needed now a days, but the nail in the coffin was when Farming Simulator was loaded.  While loading Farming Simulator 2015 was loaded it crashed Bitdefender Free and although it wasn’t classifying Farming Simulator as a virus or doing this with any other program.  If it could be crashed for me it was time to move on because if something like a simple game could crash your security no matter how could the definitions and detection is if it’s not run it can’t catch anything.

Bitdefender Internet Security 2015 Interface

After having such a positive experience with the free version except for the problem of the security crashing I wondered whether their paid for product suffered the same fate?  The truth is it didn’t it quite happily carried on working while playing Farming Simulator and even moved into its gaming profile while Farming Simulator ran.  This a feature that was quite inviting, Bitdefender in AutoPilot mode will choose the right profile based on what you are doing, which means that it will disable things in order to get the best performance out of your computer or making sure you won’t be nagged.  Great you say?  Well not so much because if you’re a gamer you’ll no doubt have Steam running of which will make the Autopilot put you in the Gaming Profile which even disables Windows Updates, which brings the problem that Steam typically starts on startup so this could mean that your PC and Security wouldn’t get the much-needed updates because your machine will be stuck in this mode 24/7.  I did contact Bitdefender support about this issue and their response was to disable Autopilot and choose the profiles manually, while this is a solution to the problem how many users are going to be wanting to change the profile themselves every time they change the use of their machines?  I’d guess not many.

Overall Bitdefender free had good detection and extremely lightweight but in good conscious can’t recommend it because of the fact it crashed while running a game.  The fully fledged Bitdefender Internet Security product I would recommend to non-gamers as they are unlikely to come across the issue with Steam, that said though the full version seems to sit at 200 megs of RAM so it might not be for everyone.  Bitdefender gets a 6/10 because it has some great features and good detection but has some gaping holes and although the support did give a solution to the problem however for me they should’ve passed it onto the development team to iron out the problems with its software to make it a better product.

360 Total Security Review

360 Total Security is a free security program that is developed by a Chinese Company called Qihoo, who originally developed the software in order to be a loss leader only in China to help the company develop its other services mainly online advertisement in China.  Having seen the way that the software has helped them expand their user based, they actively expanded into  the global market in 2013.

360 Total Security boasts not one engine but 4 engines in reality though it is only 3 engines as two could be construed as one, due to the fact that they have split its cloud and definition engine into two, along with working with the Avira engine and Bitdefender.  This would be a huge selling point for most because not only have they cornered the Chinese market that would probably know them better but while going global they have incorporated household names in security across the world.

What does all this really mean?  Well it means you’re getting 3 opinions on the files (All of which have good statistics from Third Party Testing centres such as AV-Comparatives), on your computer which can’t be bad and to be honest it’s not even though I have noticed that while running the Total Security with all the engines active it will sit about 200 megabytes of ram that could be a concern for some, however I have not seen a slow down on my machine after 5 days of use.  With that said though if you run the software in balanced mode which is without the Bitdefender and Avira engine the RAM usage goes down to about 40 megabytes of RAM so it’s whether or not you want access to all the engines or whether you need to save on RAM.

The other big selling points for using Total Security as opposed to Security Essential which is its other product in this field is the fact that it combines security and utility, it has a Speedup and Cleanup section where it does exactly what it says on the tin.  It will advice you on what files can be deleted and what programs aren’t really needed on startup.  Also in the Tool Box section the other function is Patch Up and Sandbox, this is a strange one in the fact that Patch Up just allows you to get Windows Updates that your PC needs, which Windows update should already do for you so feels a bit strange and as many other security software a sandbox is a safe place for you to run those programs that you’re not too sure about, however this isn’t automatically done for you like others do it.

Overall 360 Total Security gets an 8/10 however there is a downside to what seems to be a positive review in most respects is you need to know a little bit of what you’re doing because of the false positives that seem to be generated. Although in testing it caught all the malware that was thrown at it, it seems to be having problems with a Steam and Origin game library resulting in a number of games executables being quarantined, that said however it is easy to restore them and add them to your trusted list.  Which is why it is not getting completely removed from my system just yet but why I am holding it off-putting it on others.

360 Total Security can be found here: http://www.360totalsecurity.com/en/

Three In Touch and Three Network Review

Three In Touch Logo taken from: http://www.gomonews.com

Once again its time for a change, to give you some back history I have been a huge fan of Giffgaff for years and I liked the way they paid members back for dealing with device support instead of paying people to sit in a call centre to do it, which for the most part gives it very competitive rates.  If I was honest the first 6 months on the network I never paid for my phone because of the payback I had managed to get.  That said though it had taken a lot of time to do and to be honest as the network grew the payback wasn’t as good, not that I am knocking it.

So when I realised that the Orange Wednesdays where you get 2 for 1 cinema tickets worked with my unlimited card so that would mean anyone that came with would get in for free and I would only pay my monthly fee.  So I went over to EE and to be honest I was pleasantly surprised at the signal for years in my area the Orange signal has been terrible, not that it was great I might add.  However the places I actually go I had an awesome 4G signal for the most part and to be honest I couldn’t believe the speeds.  You see the stats but until you start using them yourself being stuck on an 8 meg line for home broadband 20 meg up and down was huge for me.  All that said though there is a huge elephant in the room here EE offers great speeds but they also offer very limited data, admittedly I was on the lowest package but you walked in a 4G area and you can kiss goodbye to your 500 megs of data just by being there I don’t know what it is.  So looking around again for a good deal, I saw Three was offer 4G All you can eat data for £15 a month and I was ok I can do that but knowing from being on Three before that if I was lucky I would get one bar of signal in my house if I was lucky I did some research.  I might add though before going further that as soon as I walk 2 steps up my path I have 3 or 4 bars.

I found the advert for Three in Touch sat here and realising that I was going to go on to pay as you go so never had anything to lose and I am glad I have.  I have been using Three in Touch now for a week and it hasn’t failed me yet, when at home I have my phone in flight mode and turned WiFi on and you’d be surprised just how much that saves your battery.  I haven’t had a chance yet to test speeds properly of the network but things are looking very promising because I am on unlimited data with hopefully the speed along with being able to guarantee signal at home with the WiFi.  Not even the best network in my area being O2 based networks on 2G has signal every where in the house.  I honestly think I would stay with Three just for this app, as it pushes all your calls and messages through the WiFi without anyone else needing any special software.  I know that O2 do offer similar but it’s for their Pay Monthly Customers only.  With rumours going around that Three are going to buy O2 it’s worth watching this space, but I can quite honestly say I am happy Three Customer right now.

Have you used Three in Touch did it have a positive affect for you?

A Week Completely in the Chrome Environment

After having the PSU go in my gaming computer I have been limited to my Chromebook and Chromecast and if I am completely honest if I wasn’t any sort of gamer I would have been quite happy.  The problem came on the days off that I have, I wanted to do something and although it pains me to say it I ended up playing World of Warcraft again due to it being the only game in the house on another machine.

The drawbacks of not having a Windows Machine for me wasn’t that great I would have been quite happy in a Chromebook a few years back when I wasn’t really gaming a lot, when I frequented forums and just generally doing things online more than gaming.  So what has this week really taught me, was I could live with a Chromebook, Chromecast and an Android because of the lack of SIlverlight I need to send NOW TV to my Chromecast through my phone not the Chromebook.  So would I now recommend people invest in the generally low-budget computing power of Chromebooks and Chromecast?  It is still on the fence if I am honest just because I think I could live in this world doesn’t mean others can, but the one question I would ask them, is that does everything you do need an internet connection?  If the answers yes then I think people could adapt to the Chrome way of doing things.

Whether it’s the right way is another discussion do you want Google with all the power?  This article seems to be asking more questions than its answering for me Google having all the power isn’t a great thing because I don’t really produce many documents, spreadsheet or presentations so the data is kind of kept to a minimum but with that said, even if I did I like the way it’s not stored locally because I forget back files up and I dread to admit it but I would hate think how many files I’ve lost over the years.  For this reason I find it quite useful using Google Docs, because the few files that I put up there in University are about the only ones that I’ve still got.  I really wish I’d been more into the Google mentality sooner.

Have you had to live in the Chrome world if so how did you get on?

Chromes Flying to Beta

Chrome Beta Source :http://androidspin.com/

For months now I have constantly been switching back and forth between Stable and Beta Channel on my Chromebook and to be honest I am not 100% sure why.  However I have no decided where I want my Chromebook and here is why.

First point is that I noticed the other day while set using Tweetdeck that one of my favourite tech YouTuber had followed someone who was Security Consultant for Google Chrome, and on the off-chance I tweeted her and asked what channel she used and whether she used a Chromebook?  This seem a stupid question to most, but for me I thought I’d ask because she could just be a Chrome user and not actually use a Chromebook.  She said that she used a Pixel for work and an Acer for personal which for me was huge, and that she used Canary for some stuff and Beta for others.  As that wasn’t a definitive answer for me I took the chance of replying to her and explained that I had been torn between Stable and Beta and she just said beta was solid and had very little problems with it.  For me that is huge especially when its someone who is working on security all be it they could be biased because they are working on the product but you’d hope that being as its coming from a security stand point it would quite a bit.

Second point over the last couple of months I’ve been signed up to the Chrome Release Blog so that I knew what updates were coming out when.  The reason for this was because previously I would see people saying that Chromebook Stable would get an update and I would be set at my machine wondering where my update was and what I found out was Google although they boast your always up to date, they actually stagger the update on the stable channel.  For reasons I can only guess, my best bet is so that they can lower the strain on the servers, this is where for me Beta wins because too my knowledge beta has never been late landing.  Today being a prime example I noticed on my Google Now that Chrome release blog had posted 2 hours ago so I turned on my Chromebook within 5 minutes I was notified that I needed to restart.

So with these two points in mind I think I am going to keep beta channel unless something goes drastically wrong.  What channel do you use and why?

Chromecast 3 days in

I have to say from the out set that I like most Google Products however I never really wanted a Chromecast out right because of the way I have my set up set up.  I just don’t actively have a need for it on my TV but after seeing the NOW TV offer that comes with the Chromecast I just couldn’t resist.  3 Months free Now TV but I have had no luck with this offer.

While setting up my device had a few issues not because of the device itself it was my wisdom using a USB extension cable where I shouldn’t have but now I have moved the plugs around there is no issues.  So the device is working fine but when I follow the instructions to redeem the offer for NOW TV the Chromecast says that there are no offers available which is very annoying when you read the terms and conditions of the offer and you do.  I contacted Google Support and they said they would escalate the issue to their supervisor and that they would get in contact with me by the next day.  That didn’t happen so I called back and they had no record of that conversation which was extremely annoying and I was advised to go  back to Amazon where I purchased the device and in all honesty I turned around and said I hadn’t but could see Amazon saying its a Google problem because its their offer.  So after explaining that they said fine I will escalate the issue again it will be a couple of days.  I will say from the outset of this post that the couple of days aren’t over.

However there are other people complaining on the product forum for the chromecast with the same issue, and Google haven’t sorted it out this was all the way back in April.  Instead of going through the standard I think the support should say we know there is a problem and this is what we can do.  Rather than not admit there is a problem, this is the problem I have is that Google aren’t admitting there is a problem their end.  They are trying to blame the device and say that I am not eligible for the offer at the moment.  So although my device is working and I am really pleased that I have it, it is being over shadowed by bad support and the fact the offer system Google has in place.

Chrome OS and Acer 720 3 Months On

After listening to a recent podcast produced by a YouTuber that I have followed for a number years Chris Pirillo and one of the questions from one of his viewers was is Chrome OS still relevant.  His answer was yes because all the different systems or devices have different feature sets or niches and he hoped that Google carry on developing the operating a system.

As a Chromie for want of a better word I can’t see Google dropping the Operating System any time soon because they are making head way in the educational sector in the US and to be honest with you after having my Chromebook for 3 months although the usage has gone down a little I still wouldn’t be without it.  The things that have changed for me is the way I see the device, I first bought it as a no hassle machine which it is and I could carry on using it as such.  However having a delay on an update on the stable channel for some reason, my particular machine didn’t get the update until about 4 or 5 days after update was released according to the Chrome Release Blog and although that isn’t a huge problem I got convinced to switch to the beta channel.

Although I have only been on the beta channel for a week I haven’t had any trouble with it and would admit that I am tempted to even go up to Dev channel.  The main reason that I don’t is because I still want the hassle free computing but for some reason feel that I have satisfied on some level my need as a geek to be getting the latest and greatest software and features.  If I am honest I kind of want something to go wrong so that I can start trouble shooting it in this platform but I don’t feel there is really a need or that I ever will.

The only downside to Chrome OS and the reason that I don’t fully switch to it because I have been tempted by the Chromeboxes is the fact that I am a gamer and that I use Mumble.  I just can’t leave a Windows machine because of those two things.  If however at some point in time the internet infrastructure improves in such away that it is more practical to have games streaming as opposed to running locally then I think I would wave good-bye to Windows.

The next stage for me could be a Chromecast god help me Google is taking over my life.

Acer C720 Two Weeks On

Acer C720

There might be a pattern coming along here but I promise you this will be the last one on my Acer C720 because after a week of usage enough happened to be able to make an informed review of the Chromebook and you can ready it here.  But two weeks on is where it all fell apart literally.

That’s right for some reason my ESC key came off and I was like what the hell it’s just over a week old and my keys are coming off already.  I would like to add I’m not happy on my keys and have been a touch typist since the age of about 8 due to personal circumstances.   That in mind though I managed to get it back on however a dare not press the one corner of the key.  I feel though I could just be unlucky with that respect because all the other keys seems quite solid although.  Although for a few days after I was a bit wary of it happening to others.  I was tempted to send it back as it was still in the time you can send goods back but as the key is sat there nicely and not coming off as long as you stay away from the one corner I’m not going to worry too much.  Also being the ESC it’s not as if your going to be typing using it so you can be careful on how you press it.

The other thing that I noticed when shut down completely and turned back on.  On the log in screen the wireless connects but then when you sign in and are ready to work it disconnects and then reconnects.  I have posted in the Google+ community about it and found that I wasn’t the only one with this gimmick.  I have tried the power-wash feature I have admit.  While lending my Chromebook to my brother some how I ended up with two of my own accounts on it, so don’t know how that happened maybe because I haven’t made the switch to gmail.com from googlemail.com.  However the wrong address had ownership of my Chromebook so I had to power-wash it and I have to say I won’t hesitate to do that again within 10 minutes I was back up and running as if nothing had happened.

One other thing that I’ve had trouble with is notifications, my email and chat mainly.  As my understanding was you got these regardless because your signed into your account on the Chromebook however after testing I seemed to need a custom URL in the notifications settings and the window open.  Not that this is a huge deal because my Android Phone is never far away so can use that for those notifications although having my Chromebook do it would have been nice.

Overall though the Chromebook has fitted in quite nicely into my set up and just by looking around this blog you will see that my productivity has gone up ten fold.  Even with the slight issues I have had with it, I do feel that it is worth every penny, and would recommend it to anyone as a secondary device and even a first depending on the circumstance.

The Race to the Bottom Argument

“The Race to the Bottom” this is something that I have come across quite a lot this week, because as anyone that has visited my blog of late will know that I am now a happy Chromebook user and will probably do one more post on it tomorrow now I’ve been using it for nearly 2 weeks.  However I was reading this article about the Chromebook and Macbook Air and how Google are scrimping on the screens of their Chromebooks at the bottom end of the scale.

Which I don’t disagree and this isn’t too much about the article itself as the author was highlighting that he would prefer to spend more money in order to get a better screen.  It was the comments on the article a found quite annoying with the reference to race to the bottom as if it was a bad thing.  I feel that some times people forget that some people don’t want to spend £1000 on a laptop and for me this is where Google is doing the right thing.  They have made an Operating System (OS) that cuts out the extras that some people do not need, to provide no hassle computing if you can live on the web.  Having the processing done on-line why would you need an expensive machine?  In the article the author explains why he’s gone for the most expensive Chromebook you can get, but if me personally I was adding the Chromebook to my existing set up so the high-end need just wasn’t there.

Microsoft themselves have realised that they might need to change things around with the announcement they are going to produce a low-budget machine.  The comments I appreciate that the race to the bottom isn’t going to be for everyone, but some times I feel that this negative attitude is just not needed.  Think of how much Google are going to be helping the education sector and other undeveloped countries by having these machines out there.  As Google has announced that they have sold 1 million Chromebooks in the last quarter to schools in the US.  How can that no be good for them?  Easily maintained machines at low prices.

Although this article is kind of bashing the people who think that you get what you pay for and you should go big on your technology but it’s not I am just highlighting that some people just don’t need an expensive machine with all the bells and whistles.  Sometimes you just want hassle free computing and that is what my little cheap Chromebook is for me.  You can see my thoughts after a week here.

What do you think is the race to bottom a good or bad thing?  Or should be just accept that people’s computing needs are different and what fits one person might not fit another

Bet Angel Thoughts

Anyone that knows me knows I can be a bit of a Gambler so back before Christmas when I stumbled upon a video about Bet Angel.  I looked into and thought that was pretty cool.  It allowed me to bet on the market rather than the horse itself, which meant the need to read the form and make decisions and taking the time to learn everything about a horse for one race wasn’t needed.

So after getting the 14 day trial I was down £20 which was fine as it was a learning experience for me and I thought nothing of it, there was a chance to make more money but it had cost me one night out to find out it didn’t work for me.  As anything as well you got to remember any form of gambling holds a risk and I was quite prepared to risk that amount without worrying too much.   However of late, YouTube has been firing these videos back at me again, and I’ve been watching them over and over again, just trying to work out where I went wrong.  Betting on the markets, effectively becoming the bookmaker to me seems to be the way forward if you want to gamble because it’s limiting your risk.  So a while back when Bet Angel had an offer on for a day for 99p I remembered I had a license to allow me to use it for 24 hours just sat there and I’ve thought on this nice day I would give it ago again.

So armed with £10 just because I have a feeling I’m going to lose it again because watching these videos it makes it look easy and for the most part I guess it, however if I could make a profit it would be nice just to see that it does work.  I just can’t seem to get it to work out for even a minimal profit or break-even.  So as we stand I have set up a trailing stop and just seeing whether this will pull off for me.  So I guess my point in this article is you will see quite a lot of help on how to use the software and showing that it can make profits, but just be wary because I haven’t managed to pull of many if any profitable trades using it yet.