Immunet: A new kind of security.

A new approach to security.

Recently, I came across a program called “Immunet Protect” while browsing around Twitter. Typically, I don’t like to experiment with different software when I don’t have to, particularly those of the computer security genre, but Immunet is different; it’s one of the few cloud-based antivirus programs out there. On top of that, its free. I’ll get into more of that in a second. In addition, it doesn’t waste time scanning inactive files on your computer. Instead, it monitors (actively or passively) your system processes as they start and stop, or as they run, depending on your preference.

Lightweight, yet sturdy.

immunet_settings

As I mentioned before, Immunet Protect works through a sort of cloud. When a user using Immunet is attacked by a virus of any sort, the event is logged and sent back to Immunet’s servers. From there, the servers push updated definitions to client computers. This allows every computer to stay up to date with the latest threats immediately, as well as allow Immunet to take care of any specific issues, like false positives (incorrectly identified legitimate files). The program is also rather lightweight; While running one of its scans, the program took up only an additional 2% of my processing power, and 15 megabytes of system memory. Thats what I call lightweight.

File and Process Handling.

Immunet is radically different from what I’ve seen in most other antivirus programs. For one, scanning takes all of 40 seconds to a minute and a half, depending on how many processes you have running. For me, running Windows 7, with a mediocre-at-best laptop processor, I finished a complete “Flash Scan,” encompassing around 4,000 files, in a minute and 2 seconds flat. Immunet Protect doesn’t go through and pick out every single file in your system, scan it, and verify it. Instead, it scans critical files, like active registry keys, startup files,  and files being used by processes. It also monitors installations and new files, so that you remain safe. According to Oliver Friedrichs, the company’s founder and CEO:

We scan any new file that is copied to your file system while protection mode is active.  A FlashScan will scan all running processes as well as the file that are pointed to by common registry keys.  At the moment you cannot scan specific files, but we will be adding a shell extension to allow you to do this in the future.

The one thing I missed in the program, a feature to scan specific files, is already underway. Fantastic.

Asthetics and Interface

immunet_scan

One thing that impressed me about Immunet was its simplicity. The program has 4 tabs; Summary, History, Scan, and Settings, all wrapped in a neat chrome-blue window.

Summary
The summary tab displays how many Immunet users are online, and a brief overview of the program’s history (clean and infected files).

History
The history tab allows you to quickly view recent events, with search functionality (something I greatly appreciate).

Scan
The scan tab allows you to perform a FlashScan. You can also set whether or not you want to scan running and flashpoint processes.

Settings
Finally, the settings tab lets you set… well, the settings. You can chose whether or not to monitor program installations and startups, show notifications, and allow “Active Protection” to run.

Conclusion

Immunet really surprised me. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting anything fantastic when I saw yet another free antivirus program. But the speed and efficiency it yields is quite surprising. If you’re wary of installing a new antivirus program, you can leave your old one on in addition. Although its not recommended to run multiple security programs on the same computer, Immunet works fine in conjunction with Norton Antivirus and McAfee, from my experiences with it. I highly recommend this program for anyone who wants quality security for free.

You can download Immunet Protect for free from their website.

DopplerPad Review

Now thats more like it.

Today, I’m going to review an iPhone app that I’ve really been interested in. I’m really big into music (I play piano and cell0) and therefore have been looking for a good music-making app for the iPod Touch and iPhone. Sadly, everything I’ve came across up and until now has been a jumble of step sequencers and fake guitar apps.

Recently, a friend of mine tweeted about trying out DopplerPad. After watching its teaser video, I was hooked. It seems to be an actual instrument, but with some of the beat-mapping features that you’d find on a step sequencer. This means that its incredibly easy to not only create flowing, elaborated melodies, but also to design in-time drum beats to keep the rythm.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vR1KJ5PunD4

So, how is it?

When I first opened the app, there was a discreet little bubble with a link to the app’s video tutorials and text documentation. The videos, for me, were the fastest way to start using the app, and its simple interface made learning its features very simple.

The app works like a cross between a DJ deck and a synthesizer. On the main screen is a sound bank, where you can save up to 14 different loops. When you want to play or edit one, you can drag it to one of two pads, both of which can play a loop at the same time. You can control the volume of each pad with a volume slider, or crossfader.

The app has 37 different sounds, from basses, to drum kits and percussion, to sound effects, and finally synth leads. You can record you’re own samples if you have an iPhone or second generation iPod Touch. One thing I thought was neat that I hadn’t seen before was pressure feedback; the harder you tap the screen, the louder the note. I have NO idea how that works… frankly, I didn’t even know you could do it. Very impressive, DopplerPad.

Well, is there anything wrong with it?

Nothing is perfect, but believe me, DopplerPad comes pretty close.

There are only a few issues I have with the program. For one, multitouch isnt used at all. Although itd be hard anyways, I cant play a chord; I’m limited to playing one note at a time. Granted, being able to record over yourself solves the problem, but theres no way to make chords on the fly. Oh well. One other thing that bugged me was the lack of an undo feature. If I mess up, I have to start over because the programs clear feature simply clears any notes played while you hold it down. Theres an easy way to get around it, though; just record one layer, and save the whole track before you record another one on top of it. This way, if you make a mistake, you can just revert to the saved track. Problem solved.  Because Im a cellist, and a picky one at that, I kind wish there would have been a string synth or two thrown in, but with 37 different sounds, I really cant complain.

So, whats the verdict?

The verdict is this; if you’re into making music, and want a compact, portable way to do it, DopplerPad is the best $10 you will ever spend. I had a lot of fun with it, and it really simplifies making music on-the-fly. If you’re still skeptical, check out their homepage and browse through all the features so you can really see what you’re missing out on.

Get it here (Appstore Link)

TweetDeck for iPhone Released!

I use TweetDeck to post tweets from time to time, and have to say it is an amazing desktop client. It is sleek, smooth, and groups all my tweets seemlessly, so keeping up-to-date is never an issue. However, I was amazed to find that TweetDeck was launched yesterday for the iPod Touch/iPhone, so I just had to check it out. I decided to do a quick write-up, seeing as it has its ups and downs. Its totally worth giving a try, though, so here goes nothing…

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What makes it “TweetDeck”?

The first thing I wondered was how much was sacrificed to make TweetDeck available for iPhone. The answer; surprisingly little. I was worried that Tweet Deck’s ‘multiple twitter decks” would be sacrificed for the sake of portability. However, the app nicely splits up your decks, each with tweets from certain friends or with certain keywords, allowing you to switch between them as you would switch between pages on your iPhone’s desktop (or springboard). I actually like it BETTER than tweetdeck desktop, as scrolling between decks on the desktop version takes away from the program’s smoothness.

Some features I’m glad were dragged over to the iPhone are the separate URL shortening… You don’t have to waist characters every time you enter a URL. And with the 3.0 firmware out, pasting URLs in should be easier than ever (thank God Cut Copy and Paste). It also supports twitpic.com and has Facebook status integration, just like its desktop counterpart.

What makes it an iPhone App?

Whats PARTICULARLY cool is that TweetDeck on your iPhone syncs up with TweetDeck on your desktop (which makes sense, seeing as they’re both connected to twitter) so changes are all reflected in realtime. To refresh your iPhone, you just have to give it a shake. It updates in real time, granted you have some sort of internet connection, and any updates appear as notifications on the bottom of the screen. One last thing thats nice is its “Quick Follow” feature, allowing you to follow people by typing in their twitter name. Thats… pretty cool.

So, whats not to like?

Well, I’ve had this weird bug where not all the people I’m following appear when I go to create a new group. This is rather annoying, seeing as its impossible to add friends to groups in certain instances. This is a big issue. The program also seems rather bloated… it tries to cram too many things into its interface making it slightly slower and rather cramped. Refreshing takes a while, which gets annoying; how long can downloading 140 characters of text be?

Overal, it sems like something completely worthwhile, and I say go for it. It takes some getting used to, and creating groups will have to be done on your computer for now (*sigh*) but otherwise its a respectable app.

You can download the app here; it completly free from the appstore.

In addition, a similar tweet-deck client was released for $2.99 that imports TweetDeck stacks to your iPhone called TweetStacks… I’ll review it later, but in the mean time, you can get an .ipa for it (not uploaded or hosted by me) here. Only install this if you know how to use .ipa’s.

Thanks a ton to Mike Boylan for all the help.

Left 4 Dead Tweaks, Scripts, and Campaigns

Recently, my computer has been running slowly. There’s no viruses (virii?) on it, its relatively well optimized, but it just can’t keep up with the demands I’ve been placing on it. I should buy some more RAM for it eventually.

In the mean time, I still would like to play Left 4 Dead, my favorite game this year (so far). It has, however, become incredibly annoying to play the game for about 30 minutes, only to have it start to take its toll on my system; My computer would overheat, or overcache, or something, and would start to drop frames (i.e. there were blips every second or so). Naturally, I went a-digging and found this neat little modification, so to speak, that will up your performance (Thanks to my brother for the find). On top of that, I found some other things that might interest you like hints, tips, and discounts (thats right, discounts) for Left 4 dead.

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Ranting about Twitter and Facebook

Thats right. Whether you know it or not, twitter.com’s massive success spiked over the past year, making it more and more useless to people who have accounts only because ‘their friends do.’ I don’t mean those syndicated twitter accounts that spit out recent blog updates (much like mine). Twitter is becoming irksome, and before you start sending me hate comments spewing things like “Ur dum lol twitter ftw,” let me explain myself. I was shocked to see how many people don’t actually know what twitter is, so here’s my rough explination of it.

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