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Posts Tagged ‘Free Software’

CamCard Business Card Scanner

CamCard lets Android and iPhone users create Contacts by just taking a photo of a Business Card, it really is that simple. The software is available as a Free Download for Android, iPhone and Windows Mobile.

Why a Business Card Scanner?

If, like me, you live out of Outlook then the first thing that I do when I get handed a business card  is to add the contact details into Outlook. From there it synchronises with my mobile phone and also with our Office VoIP phone system, so no matter where I am I have all the details to hand when I am talking to someone. Now I don’t even need to take a Business Card from someone, I just need to take a photo of it and let CamCard do the rest.

How to get the CamCard Business Card Scanner for your Android Phone

You can download the Free or Paid for versions of the Android App from the Android Market, just search for CamCard. The Free version of the Business Card Scanner lets you convert 10 cards in the first week of installing the App and then an additional 2 Business Cards a week after that. To unlock it to allow the creation of unlimited cards requires a small payment of about £4.00.
CamCard Business Card Scanner for iPhone

CamCard Business Card Scanner for iPhone

There is also a version of the CamCard Business Card Scanner for the iPhone, which has additional functionality over and above that provided in the Android version of the App.  CamCard supports 12 languages and works with the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4. You can download the CamCard Business Card Scanner from the iPhone AppStore.

You can find out more about this great Free Business Card Scanner App on their website at www.intsig.com

Free Anti-Virus Software – should I use it?

Everyone who uses a computer should have anti-virus software installed, but should you use the Free Anti-Virus Software that several companies offer? The free products typically use the same core anti-virus engine as the companies chargeable products, they are just missing some of the advanced features of the big brother.

There are a lot of Free Anti-Virus software products available on the Internet, so where should you get your copy from and which one should you use?

What Free Anti-Virus Software is available?

Most of the Anti-Virus companies offer some form of Free product, these include:-

AVG-Free Antivirus Software
Microsoft Security Essentials Free Antivirus software for up to 10 PC's
Avast Free Anti virus software Avira Free Antivirus Software
AVG Microsoft Avast Avira

All of the above links direct you to the website of the company who write the software, check before you download.

There are other Free Anti-Virus software products available from other manufacturers, but we know that all of these work and we don’t have experience of the free versions of all of the other products.

Where  Should I download Free Anti-Virus Software from?

You should make sure that you download all forms of Security Software, including Anti-Virus software and Anti-Malware Software, direct for the appropriate company website. i.e. Download Security Essentials direct from the Microsoft website and Avira from the Avira website. That is the only way that you can make sure that the software you are downloading is genuine and isn’t a scam, or some form of malware.

Which  Free Anti-Virus Software should I use?

All of the anti-virus applications above are for Windows PC’s and they all do a good job of keeping viruses at bay. They all get scheduled anti-virus signature updates, typically only once a day for the Free products. So in the end it does come down to personal preference and the features that you are looking for in the product. My personal preference would be for Avast or Microsoft Security Essentials, but that is because I have more experience with these products.

Can I use Free Anti-Virus Software in my Business?

All of the Free Anti-Virus software products are licensed for use on personal, or home, computers. Of the 4 Free Anti-Virus Software products above only Microsoft Security Essentials allows you to use it within a small business.

Microsoft Security Essentials is now licensed to allow small business with up to 10 PC’s to use the product for free.

Free Anti-Virus Software is a good option for home PC’s and is now an option for Small Businesses, with Microsoft changing their licensing for Security Essentials.

3CX SoftPhone for VoIPPC VoIP Softphone

I was looking for a good VoIP softphone to use my Voiplicity Hosted VoIP account. In the past I had used Xlite but was having a few problems getting it working reliably on my all of my VoIP accounts. I travel a fair amount for work so being able to use the office phone system from my laptop, in a hotel room, is a real bonus. Whilst looking for a good VoIP Softphone I tried several different ones and the one that impressed me the most was the 3CX VoIP softphone.

3CX VoIP Softphone

Not only does the VoIP Softphone look good, it looks very much like an iPhone on your desktop, but it also produces a high quality sound and is very simple to use.  One of the really nice things about the 3CX VoIP softphone is that it supports multiple SIP accounts, you can select which account (and associated number) you call out on when you make your call. I haven’t seen support for multiple VoIP accounts in a free VoIP Softphone before, so was very impressed to find this as its something I have only seen in chargeable Softphones previously.

Support for Multiple SIP Accounts

Incoming Call on VoIP SoftphoneIf you have 3 different accounts, for example, they can all be configured on the same VoIP Softphone and you can see who the call is from. At that point you can choose to answer the call, reject the call or send it to VoiceMail. You can even configure the phone to auto-answer, not something I would recommend though.

The 3CX VoIP Softphone is really simple to install, configure and get working. Below are the configuration settings to get it working with your Voiplicity account, but the process would be identical for almost any VoIP provider.

Configuring your VoIP Softphone for Voiplicity

3CX Softphone Account setting for VoiplicityTo get your 3CX VoIP Softphone configured for your Voiplicity account is a very simple process. Although there are a lot of options most of them are not required for a Voiplicity connection.

Account Settings

Account name: This is your name for the account, it is for reference only and appears in the Top Right corner of the Softphone screen so that you can differentiate between the configured accounts.

Caller ID: Enter your full Voiplicity phone number

Extension: Enter your full Voiplicity phone number

ID: Enter your full Voiplicity phone number

Password: Enter the SIP Password for your phone number. N.B. Make sure that you enter the SIP Password and not your Commportal Password

My Location: Select the ‘I am out of the Office’ option and set this to sip.voiplicity.co.uk

That’s it, there is nothing else that you need to configure. Although there are lots of other options,including the advanced set, that you can play with there is no need to change anything other than the 6 settings above. It really is that easy to get your Voiplicity account working.

I have been really impressed with how easy the PC version of the VoIP Softphone is to configure for Voiplicity and also how easy it is to use. I am looking forward to testing their VoIP Softphone on some of the other platforms that they support.

VoIP Softphone support for other platforms

3CX also provide Free VoIP Softphones for mobile phones, including the Android Platform and the iPhone. I haven’t tried either these as yet but plan the to test the Android version of the VoIP Softphone fairly soon, to see if I can answer the office phone when I am away without the expense of having to divert the call to my mobile number.

Voip Softphone for Android

A quick update on the Android front, the 3CX softphone for Android doesn’t appear to work with Voiplicity, I just can’t get it to register. However SipDroid loads and works perfectly, over wireless at least. I will be doing some more in-depth testing, of different VoIP Softphones for Android and Voiplicity, over the coming weeks and will write a seperate blog article about using VoIP Softphones on Android based mobile devices.

Next Steps for using a VoIP Softphone with Voiplicity

Click to call me
If you are looking for a hosted VoIP solution then take a look at the  Voiplicity Hosted VoIP account that I use as its a very cost effective way of providing a business grade VoIP phone system. Not only does it provide a very flexible solution but it also supports VoIP Softphone on multiple platforms.

What is a good Password?

Put simply a good password for your computer is one that you can remember easily and that no one else knows, or can work out. So it needs to be both a secure password and memorable.

What do we need to do to ensure that we have a good password?

There are several rules that we can use to ensure that our passwords are not easily guessed, these include:-

  • Don’t use names
  • Don’t use days of the week or months
  • You should include some non alphabetic characters in your password (numbers and or symbols)
  • A password needs to have a minimum of 5 characters, preferably 8 or more, in order to make it more difficult to crack
  • It shouldn’t be the same as other passwords that you use
  • It shouldn’t be so complex that you have to write it down to make sure that you can remember it

So it can be easy to generate complex good passwords, to be honest that’s the easy part, almost anyone can create a complex password. The challenge is remembering the password.

Good Passwords and Social Engineering

Social engineering is a strange term but basically it refers to using what you know about people to work out what their passwords are. If you know that someone’s favourite football team is Liverpool then its amazing how simple it can be to guess their password, even bearing in mind our complexity guidelines above. So the obvious passwords are:-

  • L1verp001 (L one verp zero zero one)
  • Liverpool01 (Liverpool zero one)
  • 1iverp001 (one iverp zero zero one)

This shows why you shouldn’t use real words as part of your password, if you do it will never be a good password, as it will be simple for the Social Engineer to crack.

Good Passwords and Shoulder Surfing

If you have a good password you still need to type it into your computer to access your on-line banking site or Facebook etc. Shoulder Surfing is the term for gently looking over someone’s shoulder as they type in their password, as you slowly cruise past them. If its a complex password you probably recite it to your self as you slowly type it in or read it off  from your list, hopefully not written under the keyboard of your computer.

I have a good password now what?

Now that we know that our password is good what should you do to make sure that our data stays secure?

The first thing is make sure that you don’t use the same password everywhere. Some information is more important than other information, so you wouldn’t want to use the same password for you on-line banking as you do for your Facebook or LinkedIn account.  That brings us to the next problem, if you have too many different passwords you can’t remember them all, so what do people do, that’s right they get written down somewhere.

Lots of people store passwords as ‘phone numbers’ against contacts in an address book. i.e. Barclaycard 0207-54663 where the phone number is the password they they use to access the Barclaycard website. The slightly more ‘High Tech’ equivalent is to store them as a contact in your mobile phone, but its still just as obvious.

Keep that good password safe

You complex good password needs to be kept safe and secure. That means that you shouldn’t write it down, I don’t know about you but my memory just isn’t that good. I need to keep a copy of the passwords that I use stored somewhere. I use RoboForm a secure password application, to hold all of my good passwords, that way if I can’t remember a specific good password then I only need to remember one, very, complex password in order to get to my password store.

Take a look at RoboForm and you never need remember another password again. There are even versions of RoboForm for your mobile phone (iPhone, Android, etc), so you can keep  your passwords secure on the one device everyone always has with them.

RoboForm password security and generate good passwords

You can use the FREE version of RoboForm forever completely free of charge. You can go to the RoboForm website at www.roboform.com or download it direct from ComputerSpot. Using an application allows you to keep all of your passwords in one place, keep them secure and it allows you to use complex passwords without the headache  of having to remember them all. One of the joys of Secure Password Stores is not having to remember passwords when you visit websites, a prompt will pop up asking if you want to use the stored password.

There are lots of Secure Password Store applications if you don’t like RoboForm, just search with Google and choose your own favourite application to store your good password.