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Aug 11, 2011


Converting images has evolved all these years from difficult to configure programs to light applications that come with settings preconfigured for the needs of the average user. With SageThumbs you get not only ease of use, but also a phenomenal range of supported input formats. 

I was hoping for a brief installation process, but the entire procedure is old-school. This does not mean that it is complicated or it takes too long, as you only have to go through a small set of screens.

SageThumbs has no application window to input the image files, because you don’t really need it. The program installs as an extension to Windows Explorer and you can find it in the context menu of every picture you hold on the system.

And when I say every picture, I really mean it, since the list encompasses more than 200+ choices. These are not just the popular formats you deal every day, but really exclusive ones, proprietary to specific cameras. So yes, it does support raw pictures, too.

As for the output result, SageThumbs is pretty modest with only BMP, PNG, GIF and JPG in its portfolio. However, the app has been created to offer you the chance to convert all sorts of image types, even if you have no software to open them up with.

During our tests we had no trouble converting to the above mentioned types any of the regular image formats. We also tried some raw formats from Nikon and Canon cameras and the application encountered no difficulty in converting them. However, given they were raw pictures, it took a while to display the results.

One of the best parts in SageThumbs is that its menu shows a thumbnail of the selected image. If multiple items are selected the thumb preview is no longer available and instead you’ll get a clear view at the main options of the application.

Besides turning the photos into one of the four popular formats mentioned above, the app also makes available the possibility to send the item, or just the thumbnail preview via email.

In the case of the single-item selection SageThumbs’ menu is a tad richer. It includes the possibility to set the chose picture as the desktop background, stretched, tiled or centered.

Handling the app is no rocket science, and it is makes for an extremely handy way to batch convert piles of photos to BMP, JPG, GIF or PNG with the least effort possible: select the files and choose the output format. The only problem is that you won’t get to pick the storage folder for the results, in case you want to separate them from the originals in one move.

The configuration panel of SageThumbs may appear slightly complicated for a novice, but leaving everything to default should be perfectly fine. On the other hand, advanced users won’t have any trouble with the screen and will be able to customize the size of the preview thumbnail in the context menu, define the quality parameters for JPEG output and the PNG compression.

Another customization option in the settings panel is to choose the exact type of files you want the application to process. Applying the settings actually requires running SageThumbs under an account with administrative privileges.

However, you will get the alert informing you of this condition even if you are already in an administrator account. Still on the downside, we noticed that while the configuration screen is visible, the entire desktop area becomes unusable if you launch it from the context menu of an image.

You won’t be able as much as refresh the workspace or access the context menu. But running it from Windows Start menu won’t give you any trouble at all.

On the downside, the conversion process offers no indication on the completion time. There is no progress bar available or any other sign that it is working, except for the bump in system resources usage, which, in our case, showed a 48% CPU average and RAM requirement beyond what we expected, continually increasing to demands of greater than 300MB. We worked with a batch of 63 JPEGs.

This would make it acceptable for small jobs that do not require numerous conversions, but it is an awful solution if you want it for batch conversions.

A shell extension allowing to preview many image formats.

SageThumbs is a powerful shell extension allowing to preview enormous amount of image formats directly in Windows Explorer by using Pierre-e Gougelet's GFL library (XnView's author).

As SageThimbs is a Windows Explorer context menu extension, there is no an executable file that you should launch to bring it up. To use it, just open any folder with image files in Windows Explorer, and then right-click a file you want to preview. You'll see the thumbnail immediately in the context menu. Easily preview almost any image format using this powerful shell extension.

Here are some key features of "SageThumbs":
 · Extended thumbnail image view of Explorer folder
 · Thumbnail image in explorer context menu (rigth-click menu)
 · Extended info tips
 · Support 162 image formats (224 extensions) via GFL Library
 · Support additional 26 image formats via XnView plugins (if installed)
 · Send by mail support
 · One-click conversion to popular image formats support
 · Wallpaper selection support
 · Copy to clipboard support

 · About 2 Mb of disk space + additional space for cache

What's New in This Release:
 · Combined 32/64-bit distributive
 · Added "JPEG quality" and "PNG compression" convert options
 · Added "Convert to PNG" context menu item
 · Optimized options dialog

Download here

Download Free Office Web Apps Browser Plugin for Firefox

Microsoft has released a browser extension designed to bridge the Cloud version of Office with older versions of the productivity suite for Firefox users. 

Version 1.0 of the Office Web Apps Browser Plugin is now available for download free of charge from the software giant. 

According to the Redmond company, the extension is designed to integrate seamlessly with Mozilla Firefox, but only in the context in which users are leveraging Office 2010’s predecessors. 

By deploying the Office Web Apps Browser Plugin, Firefox users essentially install an add-on for their browser that connects the Cloud and desktop flavors of Office. 

Once the plug-in has been installed, users can navigate to Office Web Apps using Firefox and seamlessly transition content from the Cloud to the desktop versions of Office components. 

“If you have Firefox and either Microsoft Office 2003 or Office 2007, this plugin enables you to open documents directly from Office Web Apps into the appropriate Office desktop application,” the software giant explained. 

“For example, in Word Web App, clicking Open in Word results in the document being opened in Word 2003 or Word 2007. When the document is saved in Word, it is saved back at the web location where it was opened.”

It’s important to note that the functionality described above is already featured by default into Office 2010. 

Essentially, Office 2010 includes the add-on for Firefox out-of-the box, according to the Redmond company, with the extension being necessary only for Office 2007 and Office 2003 users.

Microsoft has not said if it’s working on similar Office Web Apps plugins for additional browsers, such as Chrome, Opera or Safari. 

Office Web Apps Browser Plugin is designed to integrate with Firefox 3.5, Firefox 4.0, Firefox 5 and supports Word Web App, Excel Web App and PowerPoint Web App as well as Office 2003 SP3 and Office 2007 SP2.

An add-on that enables Office documents to be opened directly from Firefox into the appropriate Office desktop application

Microsoft Office Web Apps Browser Plugin is a Firefox extension designed to enaple you to open documents with the assciated Office software.

If you have Firefox and either Microsoft Office 2003 or Office 2007, this plugin enables you to open documents directly from Office Web Apps into the appropriate Office desktop application. 

For example, in Word Web App, clicking Open in Word results in the document being opened in Word 2003 or Word 2007. When the document is saved in Word, it is saved back at the web location where it was opened.

 · Microsoft Office
 · Mozilla Firefox 3.5+

Download here

Firefox 6 Final Available for Download on August 16, 2011

Firefox 6 is almost finalized, with Mozilla now gearing up to release the successor of Firefox 5 to the general public in less than a week. 

In fact, if no bugs, including regression issues, will be identified, Firefox 6 Final could be made available for download in as little as five days. 

Firefox 6 continues to be in Beta development stage at the time of this article, and will remain here for rest of this week. 

Mozilla launched no less than five Refresh Builds of Firefox 6 Beta, with the last such testing release shipped to early adopters on August 5, 2011. 

Firefox 6 Beta Refresh 5 was labeled the Release Candidate (RC) Build for all the right reasons it appears, since Mozilla is now confirming the final release for August 16. 

“Beta [6] is done. We pushed out the final Beta build last Friday and are spinning up release builds now. At the last minute, we took two very safe fixes for two very serious dataloss bugs on Android. If this works out, and no problems are found, we’ll be shipping Firefox 6 on Windows, Linux, Mac, and Android next Tuesday, 2011-08-16,” the open source browser vendor stated

Considering the fact that Firefox 6 Beta Refresh 5 is also the RC or the last Beta of Firefox 5’s successor, this is THE Build to try by testers looking to see what the final version will look and feel like. 

End users might want to wait until August 16 in order to download the final version of Firefox 6. Of course, I’ll make sure to provide an update when Firefox 6 Final becomes available for download next week, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled on. 

Meanwhile, Firefox 6 RC is available for download and testing.

Scrambled Egg 0.4

Despite its suggestive name, judging solely by its moniker Scrambled Eggs is not evident of its purpose. The Internet does not run short of solutions, both paid and freebies, when it comes to sending off encrypted messages. This application, however, falls into the second category and has been designed to help you encode text messages simply and effortlessly. 

No installation is needed to run the program and start encrypting your messages. The interface is available as soon as you unpack and double click the executable file in Scrambled Egg’s folder.

Looks are far from impressive, but the layout is easy to understand and all options are handled without difficulty. However, if you have any problems working with it you can access the help screen which explains the three simple steps you have to follow in order to encode the data.

The interface sports two panels, one for typing the text you want to encrypt and the other to revert the process and turning the “random” characters into an intelligible message.

You can use binary files as input data as well as plain or formatted text. Scrambled Egg turns your message into an undecipherable string of characters in three steps: pre-encryption, encryption and post-encryption.

In the first stage, which is optional, just like the second one, the data gets compressed using ZLIB, BZ2 or ROT13 algorithms.

The real encryption, which also requires you to set a password, occurs in the second step of the encoding process. The possibilities in this case are wider and include AES, Blowfish, ARC2, CAST, DES3 and RSA. For the latter, you have to punch in the path to the public or private RSA key.

Encoding the data represents the third and final step of the process. Unlike the previous two this is compulsory and comes with the following codecs: Base64, Base32, HEX, Quopri, String Escape, UU, Json and XML.

All the encoding is done as you type the text and you do not have to follow a particular order to get your text all scrambled up. The flexibility of the application lets you select the encryption algorithms whenever you want, even after the text string has been entered.

Also, you’ll notice the result of your choices in the decrypt section of the interface. So if anything looks familiar to the original text, which is actually impossible, you can switch to a different encryption method.

Once all the settings have been applied you can proceed to exporting the file. It will be saved as PNG, XML, Json or with no extension at all, but opening it will not help you catch a glimpse of the message.

Reverse engineering the encrypted message is no tough thing if you know the password. Scrambled Egg automatically detects the algorithms used to wrap the text up into an unrecognizable form and all you have to do is input the password to reveal the message.

On the downside, if you choose String Escape or Quopri as codecs the resulting file will have no extension. In this case the decryption process is slightly tougher because the application no longer detects the algorithms automatically, leaving the fields blank. On top of this, you have to input the right password to read the message.

In the lower part of the program screen the application shows the amount of characters in both the encrypted piece and in the decrypted one.

If you want to encrypt formatted text Scrambled Egg offers this possibility in the lower part of the screen. Just check the appropriate box before scrambling it so that the properties are preserved upon reverse engineering.

The text field acts just like a basic text editor, offering only the most rudimentary options. It cannot be used to format the text, so it has to be prepared in advance and pasted in for everything to work out fine. However, you will be able to select characters, undo modifications, cut, copy paste and delete.

Scrambled Egg makes for an extremely simple text encryption utility. It has its flaws and can be developed into a more feature-rich program, but in its current form it manages to deliver exactly what the developer intended: a free and uncomplicated way to encrypt and decrypt messages.

Encrypt your message with ease
Easily encrypt your messages using AES, ARC2, Blowfish, CAST, or DES3, then encode the result in a printable form, using Base64, Base32, HEX, Quopri, string escape, UU, or XML.

The resulted string can be sent on e-mail as text, saved as XML or UU, or can be transformed into a little PNG image.

The password is not stored inside the message. It's impossible for someone to decrypt the message, unless it knows, or guesses your password.

Get Scrambled Egg and give it a try to see how useful it can be for encrypting your information!

What's New in This Release:
  • password enhancement. The key is derived from original password (using PBKDF2) making the encryption much stronger, even with short passwords;
  • added Json encoding and RSA encryption;
  • few bug fixes and a lot of GUI improvements, including drag & drop text in the left area, a HELP button, etc;
  • There are a lot of improvements, but backwards incompatible, that means you cannot decrypt text encrypted with Scrambled-Egg version 0.3.
Download here

The Complete Apple iPhone 5 Rumored Images And Video Roundup

Apple iPhone 5 would be the most eagerly awaited gadget of this year, with an expected announcement and public availability in September/October this year here is an complete rumor roundup (images and video) of the yet to be announced device.

Rumored New iPhone 5 Image Concepts

A Summary Video Of All The Rumored Expected New Changes In iPhone 5

Credits : MacRunors.com & nowhereelse.fr

Network Security Toolkit (NST) 2.15.0 Is Based on Fedora 15

Network Security Toolkit (NST) 2.15.0 has been released. The latest update is based on Fedora 15 and brings all of the changes and new packages included in the latest Fedora release, including Gnome 3.0.

NST is a Linux distro aimed at security experts and network admins and offers a huge variety of tools aimed monitoring and diagnosing network issues as well as testing for common security flaws and weaknesses. 

"We are pleased to announce the latest NST release: 'v2.15.0.' This release is based on Fedora 15 using Linux Kernel: '2.6.40-4.fc15 - Rebased from latest Linux Kernel: 3.0'," an announcement on the project's homepage read.

The latest NST update comes with the recently launched Linux kernel 3.0, which has been 'reversioned' as Linux kernel 2.6.40 in Fedora 15 for compatibility reasons. For all intents and purposes, though, it's the very latest kernel update.

On top of its Fedora 15 roots, NST 2.15.0 comes with plenty of changes and updates of its own.

There is a new Network Interface Bandwidth Monitor app, included in the NST WUI, built with SVJ/AJAX. This makes it possible to monitor network bandwidth though the web user interface. 

The Open Vulnerability Assessment Scanner (OpenVAS) and Greenbone Security tools are now available for NST users and have also been integrated into the web UI. 

The aforementioned web UI has also been updated and enhanced. All packages have been updated to their latest versions.

The THC IPv6 Attack Toolkit is included in NST now as well and available for install. 

With Fedora 15 switching to the GNOME 3.0 desktop, one of the first major distros to do so, NST tools have also been updated to support the new desktop environment.

The custom NST services have been updated and changed to support systemd, the new default Linux init daemon in Fedora 15.

NST also supports the new Fedora Network Device Naming convention. For example eth0 becomes p2p1 or em1.

A bootable ISO live CD and it's based on Fedora.

Network Security Toolkit is a bootable ISO live CD and it's based on Fedora Linux.

The toolkit was designed to provide easy access to best-of-breed Open Source Network Security Applications and should run on most x86 platforms.

The main intent of developing this toolkit was to provide the network security administrator with a comprehensive set of Open Source Network Security Tools. The majority of tools published in the article: Top 75 Security Tools by insecure.org are available in the toolkit.

What we find rather fascinating with NST is that we can transform most x86 systems (Pentium II and above) into a system designed for network traffic analysis, intrusion detection, network packet generation, wireless network monitoring, a virtual system service server, or a sophisticated network/host scanner.

This can all be done without disturbing or modifying any underlying sub-system disk. NST can be up and running on a typical x86 notebook in less than a minute by just rebooting with the NST ISO CD. The notebook's hard disk will not be altered in any way.

NST also makes an excellent tool to help one with all sorts of crash recovery troubleshooting scenarios and situations.

What's New in This Release:
  • The entire NST distribution is RPM based and an NST system can be maintained using reduntant RPM repositories.
  • NST is now extensible. Add new applications with YUM install.
  • "NST Live" allows for read/write rootfs file system access so that new applications can be installed even though it was booted from a DVD device.
  • "NST Live" can be installed to a USB device for creation of a "NST Live USB Disk". One can then boot the "NST Live USB Disk" from a system capable of booting from USB devices.
  • An "NST Live USB Disk" may contain data persistence allowing session information to be maintained across system reboots and/or system moves.
  • For systems that lack a DVD device or can not boot from USB devices, the following solution was created for installation of NST to the system hard disk. The "NST Live" distribution is too big to fit on a CD. An "NST Minimal" ISO is provided and was designed to fit on CD media. One can boot the "NST Minimal" ISO, perform a hard disk installation using the NST script: "nstliveinst" and then YUM install the "nst-live" RPM package to completely build out the full NST distribution.
  • A new NST script: "nsttraceroute" has been created that Geocodes output from the traceroute utility in KML format for rendering with Google Earth.
  • Added 2 network content capture applications: "driftnet" and "tcpxtract". Driftnet is used to capture and display graphic images (i.e., GIF, JPEG and PNG). TCPxTract is used to capture complete documents including PDF or Microsoft Word docs.
  • The Multi-Tap Network Packet Capture page has been enhanced with the integration of ngrep and dsniff.
  • Many new applications have been added to this distribution release. Previous existing networking and security applications have been updated to their latest revision.

Network Security Toolkit (NST) 2.15.0 is available for download here

AMD DDR3 Radeon RAM Are Just a Test

When Advanced Micro Devices was found to have developed branded random access memory, questions immediately arose on whether it had serious intentions, and the answer might have come at last.

Advanced Micro Devices used to be known for its x86 central processing units, until it bought ATI and also became a power on the graphics market.

The Sunnyvale, California-based company proceeded to refining its various products and even combined CPUs with GPUs, creating the Fusion chips, although, admittedly, bringing them to market took quite a few years.

In the meanwhile, it has maintained a comparatively small DRAM business on the side, one that never really got any attention, until recently that is.

AMD has been supplying its add-in-board partners with GDDR5 memory chips for years, but some days ago, some Radeon modules were discovered that used DDR3 memory.

Now, it looks like the outfit may have explained its official stance on the matter, at least according to newer reports.

Basically, the RAM modules were just a test of opportunity to see if there were any regions that could produce profits should AMD start selling RAM there.

It is unclear if the ultimate decision will be favorable, given the way DRAM prices have been falling for so many months and, thus, those very profits will be hard to gather, especially since the memory is low end.

"AMD does not manufacture memory and does not plan to sell system memory directly to our customers. AMD is currently determining if the sale of AMD Radeon-branded memory through channel partners is a viable opportunity and as such it has appeared in some regions for purchase through retail," said Dave Erskine, a spokesman for AMD.

In the future, Advanced Micro Devices could establish a program to supply Fusion-based systems with own-brand RAM, but the ultimate decision lies with PC makers who probably won't be very inclined to do something like this right off the bat.

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