Editor's Picks: What We Like
BackBy CertMag Editor — June 2009
Student’s Best Friend
Remember sitting through hours of mind-numbingly boring presentations in school? Well, the Pulse SmartPen promises to spice up any drab presentation — or at least keep you entertained.
The pen, which is sold by California-based company Livescribe, is about 6 inches long and weighs about the same as a highlighter. It looks like an average writing instrument, but the genius lies in its advanced capabilities and features.
Take, for instance, the tiny microphone that allows you to record a speech or conversation in a room at any given time. The pen also has the ability to capture and synchronize both the words you scribble on your digital paper, as well as the equivalent sound waves.
Need something clarified? Simply tap your pen on the word or sentence and voilà! It will play back the matching audio recording — perfect for someone with the stereotypical “doctor’s handwriting.”
In addition, the pen can be used to create “pencasts,” which are gaining popularity as folks strive to add some “oomph” to their presentations.
The New Pocket Protectors
According to a recent survey, more than 9,000 USB memory sticks are left behind each year in peoples’ pockets at dry cleaners in the U.K.
Further, a study conducted by Cendant Technologies, which polled 500 dry cleaner managers, found the problem to be particularly acute among London financial workers. One dry cleaner claimed to have found more than 80 in one year.
Expanding storage capabilities and the rising popularity of memory sticks has made it incredibly easy for workers to carry around a wealth of personal and professional information literally in their pockets. But that portability also exposes them to potential data theft if that information ends up in the wrong hands.
To address this vulnerability, PC Dynamics introduced SafeHouse Explorer. This free software locks and makes invisible documents, spreadsheets, photos, videos and other sensitive data stored on hard drives, memory sticks, thumb drives, network servers, CDs, DVDs, iPods and MP3 players.
SafeHouse Explorer creates hidden storage vaults of up to 2 TB under Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, Server, 32 or 64 bits. The files inside each vault are invisible and protected by a password. SafeHouse Professional Edition supports numerous encryption methods, such as 256-bit Twofish, 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard, triple DES and 448-bit Blowfish cipher.
SafeHouse Explorer operates as a stand-alone executable file that enables users to copy the 5MB .EXE program to any USB thumb drive or hard drive, MP3 player, iPod or digital camera to provide instant password-protected access to files, even from public-access computers at schools, libraries and hotels.
Now, in addition to clean clothes, you can have a clean conscience!
Summer Movie Preview
The summer movie blitz is well upon us. Hopefully you have recovered from the May trifecta of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” franchise reboot and “Terminator Salvation.”
In June, we have sci-fi films both high- and low-brow to look forward to. First comes the commercial release of “Moon,” the debut feature film from director Duncan Jones, son of rock star David Bowie — himself no stranger to creative endeavors set in outer space. It seems the premise of the movie is that a man, played by Sam Rockwell, is stuck on the moon working as a miner for years on end. He eventually goes crazy, with assistance from a robot named Gertie, who is voiced by Kevin Spacey — also experienced in otherworldly films (remember “K-PAX?”).
Later in the month we have “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” directed by the much-derided Michael Bay, who brought us “The Island.” The sequel brings back basically everyone from the first movie: actors Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, John Turturro and Tyrese. Oh, and there are also giant robots that turn into cars, planes, helicopters and cats. And this time around, they add the Constructicons! Stay tuned…